Recipients represent OREC and Western Colorado University’s commitment to diversity
The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry (OREC) Office, in partnership with Western Colorado University, has awarded $10,000 to two students in Western’s Outdoor Industry MBA program to support diverse and under-resourced populations looking to gain experience within Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry.
“The Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Fellowship underpins OREC’s mission to drive outdoor industry education and workforce development, specifically through diverse, equitable, and inclusive educational opportunities,” says Nathan Fey, Director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. “I’m pleased to continue our partnership with Western Colorado University’s MBA Program to empower our future leaders and meet the real needs of our industry.”
Dr. Scott Borden, Director of Western’s Outdoor Industry MBA program, stated, “We have an Inclusivity and Diversity Action Plan which is currently being reviewed by an outside DEI expert consultant group; we are supporting University-wide sessions on creating more inclusive curriculum; with the Outdoor Industry Association we have created a course called Understanding and Integrating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Principles and Initiatives in the Outdoor Industry; we have committed to the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge and recently took part in the LGBTQ+ Outdoor Equality Index; and, finally, we have allocated FTE for a Coordinator of these efforts and hired three new faculty which represent underrepresented populations in the outdoor industry.”
Dr. Borden also shared that “scholarships, such the one gifted by the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, assist students who otherwise could not attend our program and are an underrepresented population in our industry. Finally, we have created a DEI scholarship for our 3+2 program which will aid someone in obtaining an MBA in five years more quickly while addressing the need to diversify upper management positions in our industry. We are excited about our efforts to date, and recognize this is a journey which will continue to take hard work and dedication from our team.”
Christina Bruno is an Outdoor Industry MBA student at Western Colorado University who is based out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She completed her undergraduate degree at Western previously in Ski Resort Management and Outdoor Leadership. Christina has worked as a snowsports instructor, adaptive examiner and snowsports director over the last 11 years in both the U.S. and New Zealand, with her primary focus and passion being in adaptive snowsports instruction. Through her work on the PSIA-AASI National Adaptive Task Force Christina helps create educational resources for the adaptive community and has worked with the Department of Homeland Security through the grant, Adaptive Sports for Social Change, in conjunction with the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics.
For her MBA capstone project, Christina is partnering with Burton and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) to create an updated adaptive snowboard manual, supporting e-learning, and video content to provide more resources for the adaptive community, supporting snowboard growth, diversity, and inclusion. In addition to these resources, she is creating an Adaptive Product Feasibility Study on what products Burton consistently carries that can be modified to accommodate more adaptive users. This capstone project will help Burton expand their outreach into the adaptive community and provide more resources and equipment to help any ability slide on snow. The educational materials will help support adaptive centers around the country, many of which are in Colorado. To launch this project Christina has been giving webinars since March on how adaptive teaching techniques and tools can also help include underrepresented groups in snowboard instruction.
Robyn Dunne values authenticity and integrity, and lives strongly through these values. As a Colorado Native, getting outdoors has always been an important part of her life. Her favorite activities include snowboarding, hiking, camping and rafting. She is grateful to be the recipient of the OREC scholarship, providing her the opportunity to pursue her MBA in an industry that excites her. In her professional career, she has dedicated the last ten years to serving youth in under-resourced communities as the Outdoor Education Coordinator at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. Her passion for community and inclusivity in the outdoors drives her career, personal relationships, and recreational interests.
The outdoors has always been a space to reflect, learn, grow and connect to something larger than herself. However, the outdoors can be intimidating and exclusionary for people who are underrepresented in the industry. If you rarely see a reflection of yourself within outdoor spaces or media, the outdoor environment becomes unwelcoming, high-risk and inaccessible. Her goal is to inspire the communities in which she serves to find the same level of love and enjoyment for the outdoors as she does for herself. Peoples’ cultures and experiences affect how they relate to the outdoors. In her time at Western Colorado University, she plans to explore innovative ways of working with her community, organizations, and families to learn and better understand their relationships with the outdoor world, and how the outdoor industry can be more inclusive. We all share this beautiful world; diverse perspectives and cultures each contribute to a greater comprehensive outlook so that we can better protect and enjoy outdoor spaces.