Hoofer Ambassador Testimonials

Working at a summer camp before I started Hoofers, I was introduced to a variety of different staff training programs that discussed gender, race, mental health, and identity in order to be more inclusive and understanding towards ourselves and one another, but also the youth we would be working with throughout the summer. When I joined Hoofers, I noticed that there was no discussion or action around microaggressions and privilege and I wanted that to change. Hoofer Ambassadors has been a space where I feel like I can be myself, and also commit my time to developing a program that is pursuing personal and structural changes to Hoofers in order to break down a culture of white supremacist, able-bodied, affluent, cis, and patriarchal construction. By engaging in self awareness and reflection, we can begin to build a community centered on trust, accountability, interdependency, compassion, and respect.

Anna Nordin - Outing Club Backpacking Leader '19

The outdoor community nationwide perpetuates overwhelmingly large inequalities regarding who has access to the outdoors. As the outdoors club on a majority white campus, we recognize that Hoofers sits in the middle of two cultures that have a long way to go. In so being the institutional outdoor club at the Wisconsin Union and UW-Madison, Hoofers has a responsibility to ensure that it’s resources and opportunities are consciously and equitably available to the entire campus community. That’s why we started Hoofer Ambassadors, to create a grassroots community dedicated to education, social justice, and changing the culture. Social justice is both a process and a goal, the first step is putting in the work!

David O'Keeffe - Hoofer Council President '18-'19, Hoofer Ambassador Co-Founder

I am a Hoofer Ambassador because I value the space this community creates for critiquing current social systems and outdoor industry practices that unjustly make the outdoors an exclusive place. I am very grateful for our team's dedication to hard work and hard conversations as we learn about each other and the world around us. Hoofers is a place that I have quickly come to love, and I believe we have a strong future ahead of us in increasing our accessibility and diversifying the face(s) of the outdoor community here in Madison.

Ansley Laev - Hoofer Council President '20-'21, Hoofer Outing Club President '19-'20

As an organization, Hoofers has numerous resources, experts, and enthusiastic members who engage with training, workshops, and explorations across our nation. However, student leaders knew their efforts were not being reached by everyone. We quickly recognized the barriers that kept folks from attending our programs and activities, had to do with how we were unconsciously catering our activities to people who grew up with opportunities that exposed them to the outdoors.

While looking at expanding our culture, it was critical for us to open up conversations around exclusivity and different identities. Which is when Hoofer Ambassadors was seen as a group who could help close that gap. This program is important because everyone deserves to have an experience with the outdoors, because it belongs to us all. For us to get there we have to ensure we have a welcoming environment that embraces folk's various identities and experiences.

Iffat Bhuiyan - Wisconsin Union President '18-'19

My experiences growing up in the North Woods of Duluth were fundamental to my development as a person, and I remain passionate about the outdoors today. In my doctoral research, I investigate how we can increase inclusive behaviors and pro-diversity attitudes. Hoofers Ambassadors provides a unique opportunity to combine my academic passion with my love of the outdoors: I can use my academic knowledge and tools to share the joy of the outdoors with people who haven't had the same opportunities and access as me while building relationships and learning to be a better advocate for others.

Mitchell Campbell