Opportunity Scholars outdoors: My favorite Eccles Experience

Stephanie Yu shares her favorite Eccles ExperienceEditor’s Note: As the school year rapidly comes to a close, the Eccles Newsroom reached out to students to ask about their favorite Eccles Experience they had this year. In this Q&A, Stephanie Yu, a triple major in Honors Business Management, Chinese and International Studies with an emphasis in Asian Studies, shares her favorite Eccles Experience.

What was a favorite Eccles Experience this year?

Aramark and the Outdoor Foundation provided a $3,000 Outdoor Nation Activation Grant to the Outdoor Industry Club. The Outdoor Industry Club use the grant to provide access to outdoor recreation activities for the Opportunity Scholars students. As an Opportunity Scholar student at the Eccles School, I was able to participate in this trip. (Note: Opportunity Scholar is a group of need-based scholarship, first-generation students who represents demographic groups typically underrepresented at the university.)

What did you learn from this event?

As a first-generation college student at the University of Utah, there are numerous opportunities I haven’t had a chance to explore because of my personal and family background. When the Opportunity Scholars program announced that we would have the opportunity to explore the outdoors, I didn’t even hesitate. I decided that this would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about the recreational offerings of the Moab area.

There are 3 things I learned from this trip:

1. Utah is a well-recognized place for outdoor recreation across the nation. I was born and raised in Utah. The fact that I didn’t come to realize that Utah is well-recognized for outdoor recreation is because of my lack of experience with the outdoors. After this trip, I’ve officially became an outdoor enthusiast. I plan to gather a group of friends and explore all five national parks in Utah this upcoming summer.

2. Tourism is very important to Utah’s economy, especially the rural areas. After visiting Red Cliffs Lodge down in Moab, I learned that this type of business relies heavily on tourism. Without tourism to these national parks, these lodges wouldn’t be viable. Particularly, since I’m interested in international business, I found it really interesting how Utah has “The Mighty 5” campaign that promotes the five national parks to attract tourists, both nationally and internationally.

3. The outdoors facilitates strong, meaningful connections with other people. The beautiful environment of Moab provides a place where bonds are formed. Being in the Opportunity Scholars program for about year now, I hadn’t had the chance to truly connect with others with similar experiences. During this trip, I was able to strengthen a lot of my existing relationships with other Opportunity Scholars, and I also fostered new relationships.

Would you encourage others to participate in similar events in the future? If so, why?

I would definitely encourage others to participate in events/programs similar to this one because it is life-changing. My Eccles Experience is truly something memorable. Since my goal is to develop a global mindset for international business, I came to realized that Utah may be somewhat of a small, closed-knit place. But when I opened my eyes, I realized how globally connected we are to the rest of the world. Most of all, the outdoor recreation and tourism industries are definitely areas I may want to consider as I continue to pursue my journey into the business world.

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