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Will You Go Out With Me? #OptOutside and Alternatives to Black Friday Shopping

Everyone loves getting a good deal, but do you really want to spend your Thanksgiving break in lines and crowded department stores? In recent years, the Black Friday shopping phenomenon has taken over America. Every radio station, television station and newspaper advertises the deals you can get by giving up your Friday and your time with family to stand in line as early as midnight after Thanksgiving dinner.

REI is one of America’s top outdoor gear retail stores but their Black Friday movement is more than coupons. In the years past REI has started the #OptOutside movement. This year, the retailer is asking consumers “Will You Go Out With Me?” and encouraging everyone to get outside instead of heading to the mall.

The movement started last year as a way for people to reconnect outdoors over the holidays. REI closed all their stores on the most popular shopping day of the year, paid their employees to spend time outside, and invited America to join them. More than 1.4 million people and 170 organizations chose to #optoutside with them! This year 2,100,000 people and counting are pledging to #optoutside this year and the number keeps growing.

Last year, two of our HC Clark writers, Savannah and Jessica, participated in the movement with skateboard lessons on the top of Clark’s parking garage while on campus for Thanksgiving! There are lots of ways to get outside and spend your black Friday doing exciting activities beyond the mall.

A great alternative to Black Friday is choosing to #optoutside and get into nature. Take a break from studying, get out of your bed or take a break from the library. Rutland State Park, Purgatory Chasm State Park and Whitehall State Park are some of the closest parks near Clark that have teamed up with REI for Black Friday adventures.  You can check out www.hikingproject.com to find other trails near you.

Don’t feel up to hiking? Grab some bird feed and find the closest trail or quiet place outside to see if you can feed the birds. Or, pick up your skateboard or bike, grab a friend and try learning some new tricks. In Worcester, some other great outside adventures can be walking down to Elm Park, the first public park in the country, the Clark Arboretum across from Big Y or Newton Hill for a trail that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the forest. No matter what you do, just get outside and enjoy nature!

If you’d rather stay indoors, here are some alternatives to Black Friday you can enjoy in your own home!

  • Make DIY Gifts – If you need to check some people off your holiday gift list, spend the day crating and making DIY gifts for friends and family.
  • Decorate – Pull out all the winter decorations you have or make your own to make your dorm or apartment more festive.
  • Journal – This is the time of the semester where you can look back and reflect on all your adventures. Pull out that journal you swore you’d write in every day and catch up.
  • Catch up on your favorite TV Shows – Whip out Netflix or Hulu and catch up on all the shows you’ve missed while studying this semester.
  • Call family and friends to catch up on life.
Jess is a Senior at Clark University who hails from Detroit, Michigan. She spends her time at college studying Psychology and Culture Studies & Communication, and trying to get involved in everything she can on campus! Jess wears a number of hat's around campus such as, President of the Student Activities Board, Co-President of Radio of Clark University, an intern for the Student Leadership and Programming Office, waitress at Annies Clark Brunch, and the Events Director for Clark's chapter of Her Campus! In her spare time Jess enjoys listening to music, reading, exploring Worcester, and spending time with friends!
Savannah is a four-year student at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and is still (somehow) adjusting to life on the East Coast. Being from San Francisco, she loves the Giants, being outdoors, and warm weather. Savannah has a busy schedule as a arsity athlete, a campus tour guide, an announcer at basketball games, and a member of the ITS Help Desk. Academically, she is studying Environmental Science and Geography. Her favorite hobbies include ballet, watching baseball, hiking, and watching The Vampire Diaries and Survivor
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