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Outdoor Recreation: Finding Texas Pride in the Backcountry

By Briauna Barrera '17
Briauna Barrera
Briauna Barrera '17
Environmental Studies Student &
Slam Poet
I’m a native Texan and I’m not going to lie to you, but I wasn’t particularly proud to be a Texan before coming to Trinity. It’s a bit ironic, I know, becoming prideful of Texas, a typically conservative and Republican-dominated state, at a liberal arts university, but it happened. And the main reason it happened was because of Outdoor Recreation.

Before I started attending Trinity, I did what any anxious and overly-excited student would do and tenaciously combed through Trinity’s website, where I found the list of the campus’ official organizations. A few caught my eye, such as the environmental club on campus, SOS (which I ended up joining), but one organization in particular made me jump-up-and-down-in-my-chair-excited and that was Trinity’s Outdoor Recreation Organization (OREC for short). OREC did all the things I’d always wanted to do, but never really had the opportunities for, like canoeing, backpacking, and traveling to national and state parks. There were a slew of things I wanted to get involved with when started attending Trinity, but OREC definitely took top priority. 

OREC  Trinity University

My first semester I took three trips: Austin Day Paddle, REI service trip, and Enchanted Rock. I had a blast on every one of them. The trip leaders were friendly and helpful, although still somewhat intimidating because they appeared so involved and accomplished and well, to my first year sensibilities, them just seem so cool. Each trip I participated in involved completely different activities that I had never done before. I canoed on Town Lake in Austin, I did trail maintenance at the Cibolo Nature Center in the creek beds, and I went bouldering and hiking at Enchanted Rock. I loved being in these natural settings surrounded by people whose company I enjoyed. Then, at the end of my first semester, I received an email that contained a job application for OREC. I was pumped. I had a job briefly at the library, but I had to quit because of health issues. However, I was healthy again and in need of a job and I absolutely wanted this one.

OREC  Trinity University, Big Bend
Outdoor Recreation students pause for a photo op in beautiful Big Bend.
Long story short, I got the job and to this day I remain so grateful. I’ve had jobs that I’ve tolerated and jobs that I outright hated, but I never really had a job that I loved until working for OREC. After the hiring process was over, the OREC employees took a training trip to Big Bend. It was a four day trip and during one of the days we hiked up to Emory Peak, the second largest point in Texas. By the time the group reached the peak, we had been hiking for hours and I was worn out, but once I saw the world around me, I was speechless. As far as the eye could see stretched out beautiful Texas landscape. Texas has a harsh beauty about it, but it’s a beauty nonetheless. It was in that moment that I fell in love with my home state and I’ve been learning to love it more ever since.

Briauna Barrera, OREC Guadalupe Mountains
Briauna during a trip to the Guadalupe Mountains

About Briauna Barrera
Briauna is currently a sophomore, who is planning on double majoring in Environmental Studies and Urban Studies when she gets around to declaring. During the day, she is an overly-stressed student, but by night, she is an overly-stressed slam poet. In her free time, Briauna enjoys reading books and comics, petting any animal that will let her, gardening, and staring at people without realizing it. This is her second semester working for OREC and is pleasantly surprised at the concept of actually liking her job.


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