FB Pixel Skip to Main Content

Western’s Outdoor Industry Lab wins $100,000 Grant

Two students collaborate on an engineering project together in a makerspace.

On Tuesday, March 6, Governor Jared Polis and the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) announced that Western Colorado University would receive a $100,000 Colorado State Outdoor Recreation Grant to help complete the build out of an Outdoor Industry Lab in the Paul M. Rady School of Computer Science & Engineering.

The lab space will provide students in the program with hands-on learning experiences as they conduct innovative research in the realm of outdoor equipment testing and engineering solutions, like those required to complete a first-of-its-kind adaptive gravel bike that students engineered, built, and donated to the Adaptive Sports Center of Crested Butte.

“The funding will support the purchase of lab equipment and supplies to bolster our capabilities for adaptive engineering projects and conducting rigorous testing on outdoor gear,” the program’s director, Jeni Blacklock, Ph.D., said. “This project will be the next step in making rural Colorado a hub for entrepreneurship and workforce development for years to come.”

According to the announcement, this was the fourth and final review period for the program, which was made possible by funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) State Tourism Grant. In total, more than $3.7 million has been awarded to 50 projects in 27 counties, and approximately 284 jobs have been directly supported.

“Colorado’s world-class outdoors are a lot of fun and an important economic engine for our state by providing incredible recreation opportunities for Coloradans and visitors,” Gov. Polis said. “We are proud to support more organizations in our state that are driving this industry. This support will help more people enjoy the great outdoors.”

Author Credit: Seth Mensing

Photo Credit: Olivia Reinhardt

Take the Next Step

Apply to
Western
Students pose for a photo on top of Mount Crested Butte in the summer

Apply to
Western

We understand that applying to a university can be daunting, which is why we make our admission process as simple and straightforward as possible. Learn more about applying to your program of choice at Western.

Visit
Western
Colorado Hall with the Palisades in the background on a bluebird day.

Visit
Western

The best way to find out what makes Western such a special place is to experience it for yourself. Our student-led tours give you an insider’s perspective on everything from academics to student life.

Alumni
Community
A group of four alumni look at an old photo that one of them picked up from a selection of photos that were printed and laid out for the Ski Team Social event.

Alumni
Community

We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.

Request
Information
A few students pose for a photo behind the Multicultural Center table at the Admitted Student Day Club Fair.

Request
Information

Want to discover more about Western? Request information today to get in touch with the admissions team.