If you love outdoor adventure, Southern is the place for you. Outdoor sports and recreation are so popular on our campus that we have a club dedicated to planning outings and events, the Southern Outdoor Adventure Program (SOAP).
The club kicks off winter semester with an Outdoor Church event, which is totally free. SOAP says, “The outdoors is a great place to spend Sabbath. Bring your Bible and a guitar, and come enjoy God’s first book of nature.” Other events take students off campus or away for the night. SOAP has overnight caving, rock climbing, and backpacking trips planned throughout the semester.
One of the most popular local outdoor sports is white water rafting. SOAP takes several outings each semester. The nearby Ocoee river has class III and IV rapids. Part of the Ocoee was even used for the Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak slalom event in 1996! There are tons of rafting adventure companies anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half away from SAU. You can check out a map of the options here.
Even those who don’t love the outdoors as much can enjoy a fun SOAP event, the cardboard boat race. Teams compete to build boats out of cardboard and duct tape, and then race them in Coolidge pool. The winners get a cash prize. There is also a dive for cash where students plunge into the pool to gather as many bills as they can before time runs out.
Joining SOAP is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of Tennessee and Southern’s own awesome outdoor facilities. Southern has a student cave on campus that is open on different weekends throughout the semester. For rock-climbing lovers we have an indoor rock wall in the Hulsey Wellness Center and the Goliath Wall in the student park.
And for everyone who just likes a good hike or bike ride, Southern has a huge, 30-mile network of trails. If hiking uphill in the wilds of Bauxite Ridge feels too intense, we also have the more user-friendly Wolftever Creek Greenway, a four-mile paved walkway. The trail is full of scenic spots, artistic birdhouses, and even places to stop for a picnic.
Another awesome campus spot is the Outdoor Education Center. Home to our Outdoor Ed. program, the center has a high ropes challenge course and a climbing tower. The tower is a massive, 60-foot tall rock wall with a “giant’s ladder” going down one side. The high ropes challenge course is a great place for teambuilding. It has three levels, so climbers can be moving from 30 to 50 feet in the air, and a variety of challenge elements like lilly pads and rope walks. The area also has a giant swing. This year SA hosted a Southern Ninja Warrior challenge on the ropes course, where students raced through a specially designed course.
Southern’s outdoor programs have something for everything. Whether your adventure level is “peaceful Sabbath hike” or “Survivor,” there is a campus activity for you! To see more SOAP events, check out their Facebook.
And, if you're looking for adventure beyond Southern's campus, see the Outdoor Chattanooga website for the best local spots to do everything from camping to flying.
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