Lyon College's newest recruiting tool: ropes course, zipline

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Students are enjoying a new high-flying addition to the Lyon College campus in Batesville this school year.

The school debuted its new zip line and challenge course as part of a campus-wide effort to get students active and outside.

Students like Andrew Blank can blow off some steam through a growing number of outdoor activities just steps from their dorms but never has the fun soared to such heights.

Blank, a senior, finished suiting up to take a ride high among the pine trees that tower above the campus. In a few seconds flat, he had flown down the newly constructed zip line on campus.

"I've done a couple zip lines when I was younger," he said. "I really enjoyed it, and I think with the rope course and zip line, it's just a lot of fun stuff people can do here. I think it will get more students and keep more people having fun here."

Lyon opened the 300-foot-long zip line Wednesday evening to the entire campus, along with two other apparatus of the school's new challenge course.

"A lot of reactions from students are like no way, we have a zip line," Scott Dirksen said, "or that is so cool."

Dirksen serves as director of outdoor education and recreation at the college. His job involves getting students outdoors and active.

He also runs LEAP, which is short for the Lyon Education and Adventure Program.

"The great thing about the LEAP program is it's available to every student," he said, "so they don't have to be skilled in outdoors or anything. We encourage beginners on all of our trips and activities.

"We want to expose them to new things and activities," Dirksen added, "you know lifelong skills and sports."

The challenge course is the latest addition to a growing number of outdoor activities on campus.

Students can play 18 holes of disc golf. They can also climb on the school's bouldering wall or borrow a mountain bike and hope on the 1.25-mile Bluff Trail.

"I get really stressed out at school," said junior Fred Kiffer, "so it was a really neat opportunity to have something really to ease stress with."

Aside from easing stress, Kiffer and others say the school will recruit even more students if it continues adding to its outdoor program.

"Not many schools have a zip line or a cool outdoor program like we do," Kiffer said. "It definitely makes us unique and makes us proud to come to school here."

Lyon College plans to open the zip line and challenge course on the first and third Wednesday of each month, though the fun is limited to the college's students, faculty or staff.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.