ASI: students, come gather around the virtual campfire

By Minuet Bando, Feb. 23, 2021

With months of social distancing and the continuation of online classes putting outdoor activities on hold, ASI’s Adventures team created a new opportunity for students to gather as campers from their homes through a monthly series of free interactive virtual campfire events.

The Adventures Virtual Campfire series aims to engage students as they gather to share their exciting experiences venturing outdoors. Adventure Education Coordinator Ian Navarro explained the events’ objective to create a space where students can divulge critical thinking when discussing outdoor ethics and share tips for recreating outdoor activities such as camping in safe environments.

“One of our main goals is to connect students to create a space to explore common interests and share stories of inspiration,” Navarro said.

Students gathered during the Feb. 11 Adventures Virtual Campfire event via Zoom to share experiences with outdoor ventures and nature. (Minuet Bando | The Poly Post)

During the virtual sessions, students discuss the outdoor activity they participated in over the past two weeks. To comply with social distancing guidelines, many participants from the Feb. 11 session shared that they jogged around their backyard.

The latest meeting also invited guest speaker Daryl Mixon, a fourth-year plant science graduate student, who spoke about his experience moving to Kauai, Hawaii.

With a short presentation, participants learned about the history of the highly valued coconut fruit, also known as Niu. Since tropical rainforests mainly cover the island of Kauai, the atmosphere is crucial for growing coconut trees, Mixon said.

Mixon also showcased Senior Cultural Ambassador Kap Te’o-Tafiti’s instructional video on properly climbing a coconut tree.

After spending months working with coconuts, Mixon demonstrated two methods for opening coconuts. The first technique was performed with a Stord coconut opener, and the second technique used a machete.

First-year accounting and Spanish student, Raquel Caballero, who attended the Adventures Virtual Campfire meeting this month, explained that although this was her first encounter with the series, it felt inviting and easy-going.

“This is like a friendly community for fellow like hikers and campers and they give out a lot of good advice,” Caballero said.

According to Bronco Athletics Association Representative Pandora Mondragon, a plant science graduate student, the main reason ASI created the Adventures Virtual Campfire series was because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Adventures team wanted to continue offering a space for students to have a voice in the community while building connections with the campus community members.

“We’re eagerly waiting for people and we can’t wait to see them again,” Mondragon said. “The virtual campfire is kind of designed to hopefully just build a rapport with the students.”

The ASI team encourages more students to join the next virtual campfire session scheduled for Feb. 25 from 5-6 p.m. The virtual campfire sessions of this series will continue until April 8 and possible into summer and fall semesters.

“We welcome all community members and hope to inspire you to get outdoors and recreate responsibly,” Navarro said.

For more information or to register for an upcoming event, visit the ASI portal at

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