If you’ve ever basked in the sun’s rays on a summer day, stopped to take in a cool breeze, or paused to appreciate the aroma of blossoming flowers, it probably wasn’t hard to notice the influence of a few moments outdoors. Exposure to nature can improve attention, lower stress, and better one’s mood, according to the American Psychological Association, and a recent report from the Outdoor Industry Association and Outdoor Foundation found that a record number of people in the United States participated in recreational activities in 2022. With Bryant’s 435 pastoral acres, the university campus is filled with outdoor amenities for students to enjoy; here are some of the many pastimes students and visitors can partake in.
1. Explore Bryant’s walking trail: Located at the back of campus behind the Unistructure, Bryant’s walking trail helps hikers unwind and reconnect with the outdoors. According to Psychology Today, walking in nature can improve one’s mood — especially during stressful times. If you want a furry friend to join you on your walk, reach out to Counseling Services to set up a group wilderness walk with Luna, Bryant’s certified pet assisted therapy dog. While Counseling Services provides wilderness walks as part of its fall and spring programming, Luna always loves an extra chance to explore the trail and receive pets from walkers.
2. Locate your running route: For those who want to enjoy a quiet run on a flat, spongy surface, visit the Track and Turf Complex nestled between the Beirne Stadium Complex and tennis courts. This eight-lane track is a great space for putting in the miles and is open to students, faculty, and staff — except during practices and competitions. According to WebMD running can boost a person’s cardio health, memory, and help with better sleep.
3. Access free lawn games and equipment rentals: For sports enthusiasts and lawn game fanatics, Bryant’s Information Center (located inside the Michael E. and Karen L. Fisher Student Center) is a hub for activity equipment. Students, faculty, and staff can rent hammocks, lawn mats, Cornhole, Kan-Jam, Spikeball, volleyballs, basketballs, footballs, and Bluetooth speakers through the center. Equipment reservations must be made in person and are on a first come, first serve basis; all equipment must be returned the same day.
4. Embrace some fireside fun: Bryant’s outdoor fire pit, located on the Fisher Student Center’s Patio, is a relaxing spot overlooking the campus pond that students can enjoy. Visit Bryant’s Information Center so they can flip the switch on the gas fire and then spend the time catching up with friends, stargazing, and taking in the great outdoors — it’s almost like you’re camping.
5. Cast a line into Bryant’s pond: If you’ve ever wondered what types of fish live in Bryant’s pond, grab a pole and find out. During campus’s warmer months, students will stand along the water’s edge patiently waiting for a bite. According to a study from Scientific Reports, being near water can provide a soothing sensory experience and help individuals with mindfulness and reflection. If you need a spot to sit, just pull up one of the many colorful Adirondack chairs surrounding the area.
6. Hop on a basketball, volleyball, or tennis court: If you’re looking for a spot to shoot hoops or volley with friends, visit one of Bryant’s recreational courts spread throughout campus. The basketball court, located behind Jamestown House and adjacent to Lincoln House, is a great spot for pickup games. For those interested in volleyball, look no further than the volleyball court surrounding the central lawn of Suite Village. If you’re a novice tennis player or have years of practice under your belt, Bryant’s six tennis courts, adjacent to the Track and Turf Complex, offer students a space for playing singles or doubles.
7. Group up for outdoor activities: For those looking to stay active and make friends in the process, check out Bryant’s club sports and recreational organizations which can be found through Engaged. Activities can include off-campus outings such as skiing, snowboarding, and rock climbing.
8. Ready for game day needs: On campus groups in need of specific equipment can rent items from Athletics. These resources include dodgeballs, basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, kickballs, volleyballs, tennis rackets, cones, pinnies, a flip scoreboard, and essential items for street/floor hockey, badminton, racquetball and softball. Groups filling out the rental request form should specify if they need referees, or a field set up (both of which have associated costs).