Despite former Director of Georgetown University Outdoor Education Russ Watts’ resignation, the program continues to expand its presence on campus.
Watts resigned after accepting a job at the Dog Tag Bakery, a local nonprofit organization that serves veterans and their families by providing baked goods. Former Assistant Director Sam Bonfield assumed responsibility as Outdoor Education’s interim director in April.
Student Director Alex Moran (SFS ’13), who temporarily filled Watts’ position in the spring, described Watts as a very enthusiastic and popular leader but said that the travel-intensive nature of the position contributed to Watts’ decision.
“Russ just recently got married, and he has a five-month-old baby. Outdoor Education required him to travel a lot, so it wasn’t the most convenient,” Moran said.
The recent change in leadership, however, provides opportunities for a more influential student management team.
“Outdoor Education at Georgetown is pretty much a student-run organization now. In my opinion, new leadership is always an opportunity for positive change and growth,” Moran said. “We’ve hired a new team of coordinators and base camp managers and, as the new director, Sam has a very clear idea of what we should focus on this year and how we want to grow.”
According to Moran, Outdoor Education plans to create more leadership positions to encourage student involvement. The department is also looking to expand its class offerings in response to a surge in student interest at this year’s Student Activities Fair. The Georgetown Outdoor Activities Training program will hold a wilderness first-aid course in the spring, while the Georgetown Rock Instructor Program will be collaborating with GOAT to provide more outdoor activities and training options and to plan more trips for students on campus.
“I know Outdoor Education is in great hands,” Watts said. “I loved working at Outdoor Education and am excited to see how Georgetown and the new managers and future directors can take what we all have built over the last decade to the next level of excellence.”