Budget Cuts Bring Future of BSU’s Outdoor Program Center into Question
Since the 1980s, Bemidji State University’s Outdoor Program Center has been connecting students and community members with the great outdoors in a variety of ways, whether it be through boat rentals, kayaking, or hiking trips. However, due to recent budget cuts at the university, the OPC will be seeing changes in the coming months.
“We don’t wanna get rid of programs like the OPC,” said Bemidji State University President Dr. John Hoffman, “But some of our programs may be working with a re-imagined or a reorganized staff to do with fewer folks, some of the things that we’ve been able to do with more folks in past years.”
These cutbacks to the program unfortunately included the elimination of the OPC’s director position, which had been held for the past 20 years by BSU alumnus Mark Morrissey.
“It’s a difficult time for people, just trying to figure out what’s next for this program,” said Morrissey. “President Hoffman has made some assurances that the program will continue, I can visualize that as a, maybe more of a student-led effort, or club.”
One of the discussions around the OPC revolved around the program’s boat rental building, with their lease renewal currently up for discussion.
“We are currently engaged in conversations with the city about what that could look like,” said Dr. Hoffman.
“Whether they wanna use that facility in a different way, if they wanna do rentals, we’re gonna discuss those things next week,” said Morrissey.
Hopefully, despite discussion on the boat house and layoffs, the Outdoor Program Center can still remain a valuable part of the Bemidji community.
“We’re going to work with the city, we’re going to provide programs for our students that provide them with that high-quality experience that connects them with the great outdoors of Minnesota,” said Dr. Hoffman.
Currently, the fate of the program’s boathouse is currently up for discussion between the university and the city of Bemidji. Additionally, Morrissey will remain in his role as director until January 2nd.
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