The Power of Campfire Spaces for Diversity Education: A Case Study Analysis of a Diversity-Focused Outdoor Adventure Program




outdoor recreation, outdoor education, diversity, college students, diversity education, community impact


Diversity interventions on college campuses provide engagement opportunities for students to interact across lines of difference. Despite these efforts, hate crimes, racial and cultural insensitivity, and a lack of engagement with diverse peers are prevalent. This qualitative case study used an embedded single-case design to explore a new type of intervention: diversity-focused outdoor adventure trips. These trips draw participants from diverse campus communities and create bridges across student populations who might not interact otherwise. Findings from this study suggest that students experience meaningful experiential learning about diversity on outdoor adventure trips. Students are then able to create connections with diverse peers that impact their views of the campus and diverse peers in their community. These findings have implications for extending campus diversity education beyond the traditional classroom or workshop environment and demonstrates the potential for outdoor recreation and education contexts to be opportunities for powerful personal connections among diverse participants. These connections among individuals illustrate the potential for outdoor recreation experiences to forge new bonds between across disparate communities.

Author Biography

Nathan Williams, North Carolina State University

Nathan Williams is a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at NC State University and is the co-owner of Current Wellness in Raleigh, North Carolina.


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