Perdeby recently sat down with TuksExploratio chairman, Patrick O’Neill, to talk about the club’s history, upcoming events, recruitment, and plans for the future.
What kind of club is TuksExploratio?
We are the outdoor adventure club of the University and are registered as both a society and a sport. We are a social group of people who have a passion for the outdoors.
How old is the organisation?
TuksExploratio is over 40 years old. In 2014 I was hiking in the Cederberg mountains, and when you summit a mountain, it’s a common thing [for the] people who summit [to] put their names in [a] jar. In 2014 I found a list of names from 1972 of a group of exploration members who had summited the mountain.
What events remain on Exploratio’s 2017 calendar?
We have quite a few events coming up. These include The Everest Challenge. During this challenge we use the climbing wall at LC de Villers to climb the altitude of Mount Everest. We have a team of 10 and invite climbers from other universities, such as Wits and the University of Potchefstroom. We will also be heading to Mpumalanga to some of the best climbing spots in the world. Additionally, we will be slacklining on campus and going on two more hikes before the end of the year.
How would you advertise Exploratio to a student who has never heard of the club and does not have an interest in the outdoors?
If you’re looking for a challenge, want to get out of your comfort zone, perhaps challenge your fear of heights, or are simply looking for something to push yourself, Exploratio is a good way to do it.
Is the club open to anyone besides students?
Yes. Anyone can join.
What plans do you have in place going forward as a society?
We hope to expand our members’ participation. At the moment our members just come to the club on Mondays and Wednesdays from 19:00 to 21:00. We want to get them to go to gyms and rock climb on the weekends as well. Our climbing facility is very limited, so we want to get people out to get more experience so that they can become stronger and more competitive. We also want to increase our diversity. At the moment we have got a very strong white membership, and we are not sure how to get across to people of colour. We are also trying to increase the number of female competitors at the club.
How can anyone who is interested in joining contact you?
Besides our email – firstname.lastname@example.org – you can also like our Facebook page “Exploratio”. On it you can see all our upcoming events, as well as directly message any of our committee members.