AU’s SGA recently began efforts to install a bouldering wall in the KWC. The project will cost a total of $10,000 and will rely heavily on donations from donors, faculty, staff and students.
“SGA decided to put our best foot forward by starting the process and donating $3,500 of our budget to this project,” said SGA President Victor Mweu.
Mweu says the idea for a bouldering wall came about after talking with a group of students who enjoy climbing in Indianapolis.
“After talking to multiple students who approached us and were avid climbers at ClimbTime, a climbing facility in Indy, Liam and I decided to pursue the idea with a new spin on it,” said Mweu. “Rather than a rock wall, a bouldering wall would enable climbers, and those interested or intrigued by the sport, to enjoy this activity on our very own campus.”
While a rock-climbing wall is typically tall and requires a harness to climb, a bouldering wall is shorter and does not require any ropes or harnesses. For this reason, Mweu says a bouldering wall is safer to use than a rock wall and will pass the university’s liability contract.
Mweu says a bouldering wall will not only make AU more attractive to prospective students, but will also give current students an opportunity to try something new or gain experience in their majors.
“We believe a climbing wall will not only encourage prospective students to come, but create a new community on campus,” said Mweu.
“Installing a bouldering wall will allow those who enjoy extreme sports to have access to and enjoy bouldering and climbing without having to pay for membership elsewhere,” he said. “Not to mention, it will give those who have never thought to climb a chance to do so for the first time in a safe environment.
“This wall will also be used for educational purposes with majors in the sports and recreation field and could serve as a type of strength training for all students, not just athletes.”
SGA has received backlash from the student body for their decision to move forward with this project.
Many students have voiced concerns about the practicality of spending money on a climbing wall over other necessities.
A Twitter poll posted by Rebekah Anderson asking, “What should AU do with the money they have for the wall?” received 126 votes. “Anything besides the wall” earned 51 percent of the vote and “Get two-ply toilet paper” gained 33 percent of respondents’ support, while “Build the bouldering wall” received a measly 17 percent of the vote.
In response to the onslaught of criticism the project has received from the student body, Mweu said, “It is encouraging to see how many people care about our campus and are willing to speak out for it. In this we must speak out with respect, both to our own values, and the respect that we each deserve.
“I think on a college campus of this size, and in a broader sense, change is often met with resistance,” said Mweu. “I am reminded by the resistance chapel scanners once faced even on this campus, but now have become part of the convenient routine.”
The bouldering wall has already been approved by the board and will be built once SGA has gathered the necessary funds. The wall will be located in the fieldhouse in the KWC.