On Nov. 1 through Nov. 3, members of the Haub School and several Haub School students visited Jackson for the fourth annual Shaping How We Invest in Tomorrow (SHIFT) festival. The event largely centered around the need for public lands as a viable business component.
SHIFT brought together members of the outdoor industry to discuss conservation as it relates to business. The title of this year’s event was, “The Business Case for Public Lands.”
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation is responsible for $887 billion in consumer spending and 7.6 jobs annually. The state of Wyoming is undergoing an effort to harness the economic potential that the industry could provide.
The creation of the Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism degree is a direct proponent of this effort. Degree coordinator, Dan McCoy, explains the connection between conservation and the outdoor industry.
“In order for us to have a vibrant recreation and tourism industry, we need to have abundant natural resources like we do right now particularly public lands that have the visitor experience that you would expect from those public lands,” said McCoy.
The conference sought to make the voices of underrepresented groups heard in the outdoor community. Some of the featured speakers were from GirlTrek and Brothers of Climbing whom work to promote diversity in the outdoor recreation industry.
For the last three years, the Haub School has brought students to SHIFT to provide them with networking opportunities, such as the former National Park Service Director Jonah Jarvis and Black Diamond founder Peter Metcalf.
“We want them to get exposure to ideas that they’re thinking about in their academics related to their degree programs that hopefully keep them thinking about these issues like conservation, adventure, outdoor recreation and all these themes that are present in SHIFT,” Melanie Matthews, of the Haub School, said.
McCoy said, “It was a great opportunity for those students who went to the conference to meet some of these people, to make connections. I was really pleased that all of them really took advantage of that opportunity and made the most of it.”