Students and community members from Moscow and the surrounding area spent their Saturday morning in the UI Climbing Center climbing for a cause at the inaugural Climb for Climate Change event.
The UI Sustainability Center and the Outdoor Program partnered up for the Climb for Climate change — an event targeted at increasing student involvement in climate change awareness, Event Coordinator and Sustainability Center employee Jace Hogg said.
For each top-rope route completed, the Sustainability Center pledged to plant a tree and participants were encouraged to donate to the Tree Fund, all in an effort to work toward the Sustainability Center’s larger goal.
At the end of the event, a total 26 people participated with 176 completed routes.
“It has gone pretty good,” Hogg said. “People have been pretty open to donating and been really excited about the cause. They think it is really cool we are doing this and working towards our goal of trying to make the University of Idaho carbon-neutral by 2030, so far the fundraising is going definitely very well.”
Elise Clausen, outdoor program coordinator for the Climbing Center said the turnout for the fundraiser exceeded prior expectations.
“We’ve just had pretty consistent participation since they started at 10 a.m. this morning and it’s been good … it’s been a great turnout,” Clausen said.
While the event was aimed at drawing Idaho students to the Climbing Center, Clausen said the group of people on the wall was a melting pot of Moscow community members.
“We have university students in here that are regulars that come in and climb and they are here to support the event and the Sustainability Center,” Clausen said. “We have families that are in here, we have just regular community members that are in here as well, so it is a good mix of people, a lot of diversity.”
The turnout came as no surprise to Hogg, who said he had a good idea of the excitement that built up around the event in the weeks leading up to it.
“I knew the climbing club was pretty excited to come out,” Hogg said. “We ran into a couple people on campus, I don’t know, throughout the last couple of weeks who said they were really excited so I figured there would be a decent turnout so I think there has been a pretty decent turnout so far.”
The Climb for Climate Change generated excitement among both students and community members, all attracted to the Climbing Center with the hope of getting some time on the wall and doing their part to contribute to environmental protection.
Hogg said the notion of being able to climb while also helping the planet was quite intriguing to many participants at the event.
“I definitely see people’s eyes light up when they come up and they are like, ‘Oh wow, that is really awesome,’” Hogg said.
Hogg also said children were very interested in the event too.
Maraya Hanson, a participant in the new event said that the main motivator for the people on the wall was a chance to get in the gym with friends with the thought that it also benefitted the environment.
“It was in the back of people’s mind in the sense that they want to do more so we could plant more trees, but I think it was more the chance to hang out with their friends and then the added bonus of being able to help the climate,” Hanson said.
Hogg said after a successful first installment, the Climb for Climate Change may soon be changing to an annual event.
“I definitely think this is a successful event,” Hogg said. “We can definitely do (a Climb for Climate Change) in the future that people will be excited about.”
Meredith Spelbring can be reached at email@example.com