Rower with passion for environment
Pat Adams '13 spent his summer before coming to the Hill volunteering at Denali National Park in Alaska for the SCA.
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The first time I met Pat Adams, we were washing dishes at our friends’ apartment. Our conversation turned to eco-feminism, and before long I knew I was smitten. Who wouldn’t love a man who take eco-feminism seriously? In the time that I have known Pat, I have been consistently impressed by his thoughtful, passionate and multifaceted character.
In addition to pursuing remarkable experiences in the wilderness, Pat is a devoted athlete and a fierce activist for queer issues.
In high school he participated in cross country and ski racing in addition to rowing. In college he decided to focus on crew. “I just loved rowing the most and was the best at it relative to my other sports.” Pat has been on the crew team at Colby since his freshman year, and rowed on the varsity boat as a first-year.
Crew is an incredibly demanding sport; rowers rarely receive any rest from training. Because crew is a two-season sport, rowers train in the summer for the fall season and in the winter for the spring season. “I took about three weeks off of training this year, at the beginning of the summer,” Pat said. “Rowing is the most beautiful and hardest thing you’ll ever do. In a way it is so simple: if you look at it from the outside, it’s just eight guys moving together.” However, he continues, once you realize what it takes for these rowers to move together, you understand what a complex and technical sport it is. “I couldn’t imagine not being on the crew team,” Pat said. “The team is awesome; our coach is great.”
Pat has been passionate about the environment for a long time, and being in the wilderness was very much a formative part of his childhood. Whether he was hiking with his family or participating in Boy Scout activities, he always “just loved being outside.
It was never really a question to connect caring for the environment and loving being in it,” he reflected. “The coolest experience I’ve had being outside was volunteering for the Student Conservation Association (SCA).”
The SCA sends crews of high school volunteers to national parks all over the country to do whatever the park service needs them to do. He served as a volunteer for two summers, once at Gorges National Park in Montana and again at Denali National Park in Alaska.
“I spent five weeks in Denali, hiking a couple miles to a work site every day and building trail from scratch,” he recalled. “It was so fulfilling and you had transcendent experiences every day. Walking back to go make dinner, the sun is setting over these beautiful mountains above the tree line and you can see glaciers in the distance. It was just awesome.”
Even before he arrived on the Hill, Pat knew that he wanted to be involved in the LGBTQ community during college. “Because I didn’t come out until [my] senior year in high school I wasn’t involved in our GSA and really regretted that. That was the one thing I knew I didn’t want to do when I got here: wait to be involved.” Pat joined the Bridge, Colby’s group for queer and ally students, as a first-year and quickly became part of its leadership committee.
Last February, Pat planned his first major Bridge event; he brought a speaker from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to campus to speak about the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. The event and its reception reaffirmed Pat in his decision to advocate for queer issues: “I left after that knowing that I wanted to keep going and going and going.”
While the Bridge takes up a great deal of his free time, Pat has no regrets about his decision to join the organization.
“It’s just students [addressing queer issues] in our spare time. Other schools have full-time professional staff [working] on this. It’s exhausting but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”