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17 CCEE students experience the thrills of whitewater rafting

Environmental, water resources and coastal engineering students typically find themselves in large bodies of water collecting important scientific data such as water flow velocity. But over the last decade, groups of CCEE students have found themselves paddling downriver for a very different reason: whitewater rafting. 

Distinguished University Professor Dr. Mort Barlaz has led the annual weekend camping and rafting trip for interested CCEE students for more than 10 years. This year, 17 undergraduate and graduate students and their friends and partners dodged rocks and rapids outside of Dillsboro, North Carolina, splashing their way down the Tuckasegee River in mid-September. The trip included camping, hiking and an outing to local breweries.

“It was a wonderful experience,” said CCEE Ph.D. candidate Asmita Arun Narode, who went on this year’s trip. “It was great to meet new people and get to know them. My favorite part was the conversations around the campfire in the evenings and the thrill of rafting.”  

Barlaz said he organizes the trip as a way to share his love for rafting and the mountains with others.

Many of our students are from other countries and are unlikely to have an experience like this by themselves,” he said. “I have traveled in many countries and, thanks to my hosts, I have had many experiences that would not otherwise have been possible. This is my way of giving back. We all work hard, and it is important to also make time for some fun.”