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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star


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Taking advantage of classrooms beyond walls


Texas State students can take classes through the outdoor center where they can learn skills in kayaking, backpacking and more.

Photo by Lara Dietrich

Bobcats can experience learning outside of typical classrooms and have adventures learning new skills and exploring San Marcos’ nature through special courses offered at Texas State.
Students can enroll in one of 50 physical fitness and wellness courses like underwater photography, advanced karate, backpacking or bowling for college credit.
Each semester over 1,800 students enroll in physical fitness and wellness courses. These classes provide students with the opportunity to learn and participate in physical activities as part of their college curriculum.
Duane Knudson, department chair of health and human performance, said PFW classes provide valuable and readily available experiences.
“The evidence of the learning and health value of these classes is overwhelming and endorsed by every major medical and scientific field,” Knudson said.
While PFW courses are offered through Texas State, the classes are often conducted through a third party. Many times the classes are taught off-campus at various locations. Texas Ski Ranch holds the wakeboarding and water skiing courses.
Andrew Clemons, Texas State alumnus, said taking classes like wakeboarding and waterskiing helped him grow both physically and mentally.
“Action sports have a way of helping facilitate goal setting. Whether you’re already a goal setter or not, these action sports will make you strive to better or accomplish a new goal on the water,” Clemons said. “As you progress and take down these goals it gets more and more exciting. All the while students will be getting a great full-body workout while having a great time.”
Many PFW courses offered at Texas State are exclusive to the campus and only available to currently enrolled students. Bobcats can experience unique opportunities like diving in bodies of water otherwise closed to the public.
The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment hosts an advanced diving course which allows Texas State students to explore the Spring Lake habitat.
Spring Lake is a delicate habitat closed to non-student divers.
The lake is home to endangered fish, plants and species exclusive to central Texas, according to the Meadows Center website.
Stacey Herzog, co-coordinator and instructor of physical fitness and wellness courses, said PFW courses are not ordinary fitness classes. Bender said these courses allow students to discover physical activities they are passionate about while learning new skills.
“Physical activity and exercise are often lumped into the same category, but they can be very different,” Herzog said. “Some of these outdoor classes may give students a newfound love, passion or hobby that provides them with adequate daily or weekly physical activity.”
Through PFWs, students are taught more than the basics of adventurous outdoor activities: they are taught how to incorporate these activities into their daily lives.
Bobcats who want to learn more about any of the beginner or advanced PFW courses can view detailed listings on the Texas State Department of Health and Human Performance page.

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