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Bringing Slacklining to Campus
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chalker7


Sep 19, 2006, 10:25 AM
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Bringing Slacklining to Campus
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Well I searched like crazy for all those posts about students gettin nabbed by campus police becasue universities imposed bas on slacklining, but I couldnt find the info I needed. Sooo, when all you rebelious slackliners started walkin it on campus did you bother to check with the powers that be before doing it or did you just do it and wait for the shit to hit the fan? Usually my motto is "Its easier to ask for forgiveness than permission" but I thought I'd check with ya'll first. Thanks.

Peace.
Colby.


Partner slacklinejoe


Sep 19, 2006, 12:22 PM
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I've written a bunch of posts on the topic. I've had good success and diplomacy and obtaining proper permissions at most colleges and universities. Matter of fact, if you do it right and as a student organization you might even get the school to pay for club gear.

Here are some threads:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=708393#708393

http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=879135#879135

http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=550208#550208


nightshade


Sep 19, 2006, 10:06 PM
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I slackline at Iowa State, and never asked if it was ok, and never had a problem. Been slackin for almost a year here now, and many teachers and security people have come up and watched but never said I have to stop.


zacrobinson


Sep 19, 2006, 10:18 PM
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I brought a lot of slacklining to Texas A&M's campus and we never got any trouble. The closest thing we got was when the maintanance crews would ask us to move over so they could mow.

Just set it up and be friendly when people ask questions


mistajman


Sep 19, 2006, 11:37 PM
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I slacklin at U of Idaho, and had never had any trouble untill recently, but they just asked me to use more padding on the tree. I don't think its illegal or against the rules on most campuses.


Partner slacklinejoe


Sep 20, 2006, 6:20 AM
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As I pointed out in some of the previous threads, most campus concerns are centered on two things, safety for the participants and safety of the trees.

The trees are the easiest to address, please, please, please use effective padding. If you have a favorite set of trees and one starts showing a bit of wear even with padding, please rotate locations to let the bark "recover". I find that by alternating between locations on campus you cannot tell that I've been using those trees at all despite slacking every other day for hours.

Safety for the participants is a harder sell. You have to be very professional and avoid the problems that arose for skateboarding. When you do not have official permission for a location, try obtaining it first if at all possible. You'll get a much warmer reception if you go up asking to teach it to fellow students than if it's for your own enjoyment as well. This pairs up with the student organization thing I mentioned.

If you form a student club around it, it instantly gets some form of legitamacy and can be under the campus recreation umbrella. If you can do that, the campus will actually appreciate you "volunteering" to teach other students.

If you have a line up in a public place, you are serving as an ambassador for the entire sport. If you throw a fit because they ask you to take it down and get permission or if the maintenance guys chop your line because you left it up unattended, take it in stride - it probably WILL happen at some point but stay level headed and don't break the rules. You'll ruin it for every other campus/park out there if you set a bad example.


chalker7


Sep 20, 2006, 5:06 PM
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Thanks for all the help folks. Ill keep everything in mind. I think everything should go ok because I'm already in the process of starting a climbing club and I can throw slacklining in there under the guise of training to climb. Peace.

Colby


chuckster


Sep 20, 2006, 5:10 PM
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I slackline on the quad of ESF and haven't had a problem yet. Eveyone seems to dig it including professors and maintanance guys. Lots of people who have never done it before are really into it too. They jump right on. It goes doen every Friday.


jimdavis


Sep 24, 2006, 8:56 PM
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We do it a lot at UMaine...got front page on the school paper a time or two. They don't care much from what I've seen....they're planning on cutting half of the trees we use down anyway though.

I don't think anyone ever asked if they could do it...the campus police sometimes walk by and watch for a few, in awe.

Cheers,
Jim


cmacblue42


Oct 22, 2006, 8:40 AM
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Ok, i am planning to start a high school slackline club and i need some help. First off, will the school allow slacklining to be "legal" on campus? I got a file from slacklineexpress.com that helped alot but extra stuff on this would be appreciated. Also, any purposes and benefits of slacklining (especially from a high school perspective) would be appreciated (other than ridiculous amounts of fun). so far i have train for other sports such as climbing, surfing, snowboarding, skating, and yoga, improve concentration and relaxation skills and learn more about yourself and be able to control yourself, one of the first high school clubs in US and definitaley in our area, so being one of the first ambassadors to the sport and organizing competitions in affiliation with climing gyms and what not and promote our school in a positive way. Provide a hobby and a get away from school stresses. Next, who would i recruit? Everyone or what? Lastly, inorder to try to keep the cost of the club down, do you guys know of any companies or anything that would be willing to donate or offer discounts on a couple of slacklines to be used? Thanks a lot.


Partner slacklinejoe


Oct 22, 2006, 3:28 PM
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The "legal" issue is really in their hands since there are general public safety consierations. Either way you'll need to meet with them in person before jumping on lines to see what their concerns are. You'll likely have to educate them about a lot of issues around the sport, but in general high schools are less flexible than universities for the "campus rec" issue since students pay to go to universities. Instead, the most successful sales pitch to high schools I've had is this:
It's similar to a *free* or extremely low cost gymnastics program
It is an excellent training tool for other sports
It's cheap, kids dig it and injuries are very rare (almost certainly less than ultimate frisbee, but I have no stats to back that up), it's a self confidence builder and it appeals to a lot of the kids who aren't into competitive sports.

As for financial assistance - it's not like it's super expensive but shoot me an email anyway. We have a tiny fund for helping schools out, granted it's pretty much used up right now, but if nothing else we might be able to cut you a deal on some refurbished gear. The reality here is that if you pitch it to the school a lot of them will buy it for their Physical Ed programs. We're seeing major interest from schools wanting to offer programs like this since it grabs the students attention. And the schools that do have them are having great results with their programs.


rock_pirate


Nov 28, 2006, 12:57 PM
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We slackline here at Alma college, MI and never had a problem. Security once came by and questioned us on it but I have never heard of a campus actually banning slacklining.


endercore


Nov 29, 2006, 8:14 AM
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mine was close.
it was banned for a couple of months earlier this semester while administration sorted through details of it. We've had one up for 3 years in the same spot, and the guy who's line it was moved and took the line with him. The spot became over grown with some bushes and this year we had to move our line. Thats where the trouble started! anyway after lots of fighting we they told us we could put a line back where it used to be as long as we kept it as low as possible. We were lucky to have a few faculty members at our school really fighting for us to allow the slackline. Now we have official permission and all that jazz to be able to do it. Although If you're thinking of trying slackline at your school I would recommend the mantra "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission" It took 3 years for anyone to even say something about us being able to slackline. Then after we tried to get permission it was about 3 months before we were able to do it again. Just set one up and if someone makes a big deal about it them worry about getting it ok'd.


ebonezercabbage


Nov 29, 2006, 8:43 AM
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Guess a little off topic but i'd thought i'd share anyways.


My University had a really wonderful horseshoe shaped waterfall fountain made from real rock. It doubled as an ampetheatre when it wasn't turned on. They allowed people to sit on surrounding rocks and even fool around in it when it was turned on. I got the notion to climb it. (traverse all the way). i would climb it on and off during the late fall and early spring months. I got kicked off once or twice and it really ticked me off, so i pulled out the schools handbook (which has on the front cover, "every rule and regulation u need to know"), and took it with me to climb the fountain. When the campus police tried knock me off of it., i pulled out the book, said "show me in there where i cant do this and i'll leave" then kept climbing. I ended up with a fine and took it to the schools magistrate and i won.

I guess the moral of the story is, if some else on campus is doing something similar, like fooling around on the fountain or sitting on nearby rocks, so can i, only differently. its all how you phrase ur argument. For ur case, bring up how the damn dirty hippies swing from tree branches or how the art students sit under the trunks, or how the biology students take samples of the bark......ur doing that, only different.


trust me, if it comes to a fight, u'll win it. its not about proving you are right, its about showing how they are wrong. cause if they are wrong, u have to be right.


rock_pirate


Nov 29, 2006, 9:28 AM
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Your articile compels me to find loop holes around letting us urban climb on our campus, but im pretty sure the rules are pretty clear on staying off the buildings and monuments.


Partner slacklinejoe


Nov 29, 2006, 9:35 AM
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rock_pirate wrote:
Your articile compels me to find loop holes around letting us urban climb on our campus, but im pretty sure the rules are pretty clear on staying off the buildings and monuments.

Almost every state, city & University has a generally written personal safety policy (students can't do things that are inherently dangerous). If the cops / campus security choose to enforce it for slacking then you have very little margin for recourse without appealling it saying it isn't a safety issue.

Frankly, if you piss your university off by going around the rules, don't expect them to just say "oops, sorry about that ticket" instead, you end up with a fight on your hands. Remember, even if it isn't in the rule book, they are the people who write the rule book.


greenketch


Nov 29, 2006, 10:06 AM
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Joe is so right on this. Asking forgiveness is easier but getting the rule givers mad is a bad idea. It is generally good to approach with a cooperative spirit.
I have been dealing with a state agency on a climbing access problem and I have a couple times had to point out that the state regs say specifically that climbing is allowed within controls. From there I go back to "lets define the control" and all is good. So far I havn't been ticketed or locked out and some of the rangers even smile when I am there.

If you can cultivate the same deal at the school you will be a long way ahead.


endercore


Nov 29, 2006, 6:26 PM
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this is true, but why make it an issue in the first place. Slack untill someone says something, then respectfully plead your case through the proper channels. Chances are, no one will say anything. If you decide to ask, it will go to the people who manage risk and the like and they are more likely to play the "its a liability" card.

like I said, it's what worked for us at our school. It took 3-4 years and us moving the line before anyone said anything. Then we were respectful, and didn't slack on campus untill the issue was resolved. Although it may have never gotten approved had our outdoor director and vp for student development not been so adamant about allowing it.

for anyone that cares, here were the issues our administration was concerned with:
Diameter of the tree's (also with the bark of the tree's)
Location of the line in area's of student traffic (someone could be clothes lined)
Height off The ground(we couldn't set a number that we all agreed on, but put the rule as "make the line as low as possible")


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