When biology major Jenna Hooten delivered a speech about rock climbing to her interpersonal communication classmates last semester, she wasn’t expecting it to go anywhere.
“I didn’t think it was a real possibility,” she said.
But that one persuasive speech in mass media Assistant Professor Jill Gibson’s class started the ball rolling to get students up the walls at the Amarillo Rock Climbing House.
After the speech, Hooten approached Craig Clifton, Fitness and Life Services department coordinator, to find out how to make the class a reality.
“We try to offer a variety of classes for a variety of students,” Clifton said.
While Hooten collected signatures from people interested in the course, Clifton spoke with mass media major and ARCH rock climbing instructor Jonah Gray about making the possibility a reality. Gibson said Gray has been teaching rock climbing for years.
“I don’t think it’s a bad idea,” Gibson said. “He is more qualified because most of the faculty here don’t know how to rock climb.”
After talking to Gray, Clifton contacted ARCH about using the facilities and the board to see about funding.
Now, rock climbing is offered through AC for 2½ hours each Friday.
The course is open to anyone who wants to receive a physical education credit. The eight students enrolled learn how to tie knots and the proper way to climb.
“I like that it’s a different kind of P.E.,” theater major Sarai Dinkens-Agalaba said.
The first semester often determines whether a course will be offered in later semesters.
Instructors are working out the kinks and trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for students.
“I don’t mind being a guinea pig,” Dinkens-Agalaba said.
Gray not only is a student but also the instructor, something that came as a surprise to other students.
“I have never heard of a student teaching a class,” said mass media major Alma Bustamante.
It didn’t seem to faze Hooten, who said she’s enjoyed the course so far.
“It’s really a lot of fun, and students should take this class,” Hooten said.