Learn scaled rocks, ice and academics on road to graduation

(12-01-2016)

Article by Alex Hart

Eric Learn hangs on to precipice in free climb

Photo by Anna La Susa

Graduating with a major in business administration - accounting, Eric Learn was chosen to give the commencement message on behalf of the graduating class. From Berkeley Heights New Jersey, Learn is a member of the Adams State Adventure Program (ASAP).

Learn's journey to Adams State was partly inspired by his sister. "I took a year and a half off and I was working at a restaurant and my sister got her undergrad at Gettysburg and I'm sitting there at graduation thinking ok, I think I need to go to school."

What attracted Learn to the adventure program was the unknown including the opportunities it could bring, and the personal goals he could achieve – such as ice climbing for the first time, which the program helped him accomplish.

Learn also speaks highly of the 21 credit adventure leadership minor that a student is required to be active in to be a member of the adventure program. "The adventure leadership minor was very appealing to me because I was going for a business management degree to start with but I like being outdoors doing fun things and [the adventure leadership minor] just opened my eyes to so many different things."

If he had to sum up the adventure program Learn would say, "it is rad," noting how the different parts of ASAP round out the experience. "The climbing wall is a really, really good environment to be in, the rental shop can give you a lot of knowledge base, working the challenge course gives you a lot of great experience with facilitation and if you're in the minor, your first class is a two-week backpacking trip."

This summer, the Adams State Adventure Program was named the Top Adventure School by the online magazine, Elevation Outdoors.

In the future Learn hopes to open up a small business by himself or with friends and states that the experiences he's had within the adventure program and the skills he's learned will help him no matter where he ends up. "I think having problem solving and critical thinking skills will help in any job or workplace."

Learn's advice to incoming freshman is not unlike the advice most people would give. "Get involved with some program on campus whether it is in the department of your major or extracurricular activities. Just look for things to do. The [San Luis] valley, to a lot of people, seems quiet and some people say it is boring, but there is so much if you just look around."