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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI at North Woods Challenge Course celebrates opening of new indoor climbing facility

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. – Oct. 21, 2013 – The North Woods Challenge Course (NWCC) opened a new indoor climbing facility recently as part of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Student Leadership Development’s Adventure Based Learning initiative. The course is located on campus and is open to all student groups. There is no program fee for URI student groups.

The new indoor climbing facility is designed to accommodate all climbing abilities from beginner to advanced. The facility includes a 38-foot top rope-climbing wall with five active belay stations and three new high elements designed to incorporate individual challenge and growth with teamwork and community building. With the opening of the indoor facility, the challenge course will be able to continue operation year round. The North Woods Challenge Course’s primary function is to aid URI student organizations with group and team development through customized workshops around specific topics including, but not limited to community building, group cohesion, conflict resolution, communication enhancement, and team building.

University and student leaders held a ribbon cutting ceremony and unveiled a plaque to celebrate the arrival of the addition to the course. The University of Rhode Island’s Student Senate was honored at the event for donating the funds to pay for the construction of the indoor climbing wall. Student Senate President Matthew Kilduff, a junior economics and political science major, had the honor of cutting the ribbon and Stephanie Segal, former Student Senate president, unveiled the plaque that was dedicated to the Student Senate. The opening of this facility came two days before URI unveiled the $11 million, 33,202 square-foot Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center. “This new facility will greatly enhance our staff’s ability to meet the growing need of our student groups and the University’s community for these types of programs. Now we are confident, whatever the weather or time of year, we can proceed to meet that need,” said Bruce Hamilton, Director Memorial Union/Student Involvement & Center for Student Leadership Development.


“The challenge course allows students to step outside of their comfort zones through an adventure-based learning model that provides for learning through intentional experience and guided reflection. These programs are led primarily by trained student facilitators supported by professional staff to maximize the potential for peer leadership. Each semester many groups request challenge course programs as a way to enhance their missions and provide involvement opportunities for their membership which help to strengthen not just each member as an individual but the organization as a whole,” said Alison Jackson Fraiser, Coordinator in the Center for Student Leadership Development.

Prior to the festivities, the URI Student Senate, a major supporter of the Center for Student Leadership Development at URI, worked through a low elements challenge course program for team building. All of the activities were based on trust, communication, and teamwork.

The North Woods site, a $476,400 facility, is also home to 13 low challenge course elements, 3 high elements and a 50’ outdoor climbing tower. Each challenge course program allows individuals and teams to focus on communication strategies, problem solving, leadership development, and teamwork. The course has been open since 2002 and groups from college students to corporate businesses have participated in the various challenge course programs. The course facilitation team is comprised of URI staff and students who have completed a safety and facilitation training led by Project Adventure, Inc. professionals.

The URI North Woods Challenge Course (NWCC) is located on 590 Old North Road, north of the Compass School. Visitors may enter through a gate on the west side marking the entrance to the parking lot.

For more information on the North Woods Challenge Course go to: http://web.uri.edu/leadership/challenge-course/

To schedule a program go to: http://web.uri.edu/leadership/challenge-course/request/

Pictured above:
Alison Jackson Fraiser, left, and Melissa Camba-Kelsay, coordinators for URI’s Center for Student Leadership Development, admire the new 38-foot top rope climbing indoor facility.

Logan Underwood participates in a low ropes course during the URI Student Senate’s recent retreat at the University’s North Woods Challenge Course.

From left, Kyle Weinreich, Rachel McAfeer, Kathleen Maeuy, Emily Schaffert, Aristides Kappatos of URI’s Student Senate work together to complete a low ropes course task.
URI Photos by Michael Salerno Photography.

This press release by written by Caitlin Musselman, a URI Marketing and Communications intern, and a public relations and political science major.