Outback Jacks may be on the comeback trail

Katie Haines Reporter

Outback Jacks has faded into obscurity, as SDSU continues its expansion. 

As students arrived for another academic year at SDSU, one of the main points of discussion was the rapidly changing campus. The addition of four new residence halls as well as The Union dining expansion were completed to accommodate the increasing number of students. While most students may be looking at the new additions, they may not have noticed what is missing. 

Outback Jacks, previously located in The Union, was a place where students were able to rent outdoors equipment. They had kayaks, canoes, camping and hunting equipment.  According to Jennifer Novotny, executive director of The Union, OBJ was located in the basement of The Union for about 25-30 years. With the absence of OBJ, students may be left wondering what exactly happened and where all the equipment went.

During the 2012-2013 academic year OBJ was not bringing in the revenue that it had in years past. According to Novotny, a student focus group was created to spend time coming up with ideas to create more foot traffic to OBJ and bring in more customers.

They found that the equipment most frequently used were the pool tables, kayaks, canoes and hunting equipment. They began to advertise these items and displayed a few at the Information Exchange desk. Although this did help spark some more interest, students were still not utilizing OBJ enough.

Toward the end of the spring 2013 semester, The Union began talking to the Department of Residential Life about placing the billiards tables in some of the residence halls. The Union also began to look at the needs of the veteran students and their families. The space that had previously been used for OBJ would now be used for the Veterans’ Affairs Office, the Hobo Day Committee Office and eSDSU.

According to Lauren Brown, facilities coordinator at the Wellness Center, The Union contacted the Wellness Center to see if they had any interest in purchasing the remaining equipment. 

The Wellness Center is currently in the talking stages of planning a Phase II and are hoping to run an outdoor recreation program sometime in the future, said Shari Landmark, assistant director of the Wellness Center. For now, the outdoors OBJ equipment is sitting in a storage facility waiting for the Wellness Center to enter Phase II and allow students to begin using it again.