Wilderness Program gets new name and home

July 25, 2016

To better reflect its true identity and activities, the Saint Michael’s College operation formerly called the “Wilderness Program” has changed its name to the “Adventure Sports Center.”

Todd Johnstone-Wright ’96, founder and director of the very popular and successful campus-based enterprise, said he and his staff this summer also are in the process of moving their headquarters from their current space on the second floor of Alliot Hall to the basement of Alumni Hall – formerly home to Student Health Services before that office moved to Bergeron last year.

Johnstone-Wright said the new Adventure Sports Center administrative office space will be located alongside areas for storing equipment and outfitting students — functions that formerly were dispersed more piecemeal around campus in Cashman and Tarrant. He said the name change, beyond being “a way to get some momentum going behind the new space,” really better describes what his office is all about.

“The name Wilderness Program is kind of outdated and for folks not already knowledgeable about our program it doesn’t really define what we do as an organization,” he said, explaining how sometimes, based on the old name, people have mistakenly thought his program was a nature stewardship club or possibly a therapeutic outdoors program.

“’Wilderness’ has a specific definition, and much of our programming doesn’t happen in the wilderness,” Johnstone-Wright said – for example, the Smuggler’s Notch ski pass or Petra Cliffs Climbing Center passes. “Adventure Sports” also is the term that has most currency in academic institutions nowadays, he said, and the word “program” connotes “an individual thing, while we’re really a variety of programs; people would go to a center to sign up for a specific program — that’s where the notion came out of.”

Johnstone-Wright has been working with Alex Bertoni, the College’s marketing chief, on this rebranding built around the new name and redesigned logos. The Alumni Hall basement space has been remodeled by K&J Construction, “and they’ve done a great job making it look nice,” Johnstone-Wright said, adding that he and his staff are working on ideas to attract more students to the new site, including possibly raffles for adventure equipment and a direct and personal outreach to Alumni Hall residents who might want a place to spend meaningful supported quality time with positive mentors and friends – the way so many students enjoyed doing in Alliot Hall space before. The move should be happening in the next few weeks.

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