RSOP Delivers For Outdoor Enthusiasts
The Duluth area is widely known for catering to outdoor enthusiasts and that’s no
exception at UMD. UMD’s Recreation Sports and Outdoors Program (RSOP) over time
has offered a lot in terms of outdoor fun.
From trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and fun programs like
Sailing Duluth or fly fishing to ‘make and take’ activities on campus there’s something for
a wide variety of interests in the outdoors program.
“We have a motto of ‘Active, healthy lifestyles and a connection to the outdoors,” said
Tim Bates, the Associate Director of RSOP and Coordinator of Environmental
Bates added that it’s more than just what appears on the surface, promoting a well-
rounded philosophy through the outdoor programming.
“That really sums up what we’re about,” Bates said. “Getting people active and healthy,
and getting them outdoors. We want people to move their bodies. Which is good for
brain development, which actually means it helps them be successful at UMD
academically but also there is a social piece to it.”
The outdoor program at RSOP has succeeded in doing that since the first outdoor club
began on campus in 1980 with a single director and no staff to work with. It has
expanded over time to cater to student interests, including the outdoor rental program,
which gives access to a wide variety of outdoor tools and equipment.
“The rental center used to live in Kirby Student Center and the outdoor program then
took it over about ten years ago,” Bates said, “I saw it as a tool to play a role with our
programming but also saw it as an opportunity to provide opportunities to get really
awesome gear. So we started building the volume of gear and quality of gear.”
Now located in Sports and Health Center room 154 adjacent to the RSOP front desk, the
rental center has between 2,000 and 2,500 items to offer with rental rates varying by
item and length of time that an item is rented.
On top of the low rates and wide selection, the rental center caters to everyone.
However only UMD students get the lowest rates according to UMD Student and
Outdoors Activities Program Coordinator Kevin Taralseth.
“It’s the cheapest rentals you’ll find anywhere because part of the student service fee is
to help the rental center so everything is at cost for students.” Taralseth said. “So most
things you’ll be renting are a dollar or two, and there’s a ten percent discount that
students get as well.”
The rental and outdoor programs have been a huge hit and a major part of why RSOP
succeed for so many years. So far, word of mouth has been a major contributor to the
“People have a great experience and tell their friends and their friends come along and
get involved,” Bates said. “People are excited because they have a good time doing