Pomona outdoor coordinator leaves for UC Riverside

A woman wearing a pink shirt and jeans smiles at the camera.
The coordinator of Pomona College’s Outdoor Education Center Chris Weyant-Forbes left her position to work for UC Riverside. (Courtesy: Pomona College)

The coordinator for Pomona College’s Outdoor Education Center Chris Weyant-Forbes has resigned from her position, according to an email from Weyant-Forbes and Dean of Campus Life Josh Eisenberg.

Weyant-Forbes accepted an offer to serve as the coordinator of outdoor excursions at the University of California, Riverside, leaving Pomona effective Feb. 9, according to the email. 

Eisenberg paid tribute to Weyant-Forbes’ many contributions in community outreach and campus life over the course of her nearly seven years at the college.

“Chris has contributed to the college in many ways. Most significantly, she developed a relationship with the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles to initiate and grow a ropes course, and oversaw the creation and planning of the OEC Alterna-break focused on Indigenous water rights in the Owens River Valley,” Eisenberg said. 

He also noted her instrumental role in coordinating Orientation Adventure trips prior to the pandemic. 

Weyant-Forbes’ departure from Pomona has left some students questioning the future of OA, a program which Pomona’s administration has continually attempted to revise amidst student backlash. 

In 2018, Pomona President G. Gabrielle Starr announced that OA would be moved to students’ second year, a controversial decision that was ultimately reversed before fall 2019. In 2020, prior to the cancellation of in-person orientation at the dawn of the pandemic, the program was set to be shortened by a day and a half with three new trips to be housed on campus. All other trips were limited to destinations within four hours’ driving distance from Claremont. 

In an email to students Tuesday, Eisenberg confirmed the return of OA for the fall 2022 semester after the program’s two year hiatus. In alignment with previous alterations, the email outlined three types of trips that will be offered: wilderness experiences, outdoor experiences with some modern amenities and campus-based experiences.  

OEC staffer Allison Fitz PO ’24 said next year’s adjustments to OA might give students less of an opportunity to engage with the outdoors.

“Pomona markets OA as a reason why you should come here because we have such great access to natural spaces, and they’re just not fulfilling that,” she said. “I think it’s good to have variety, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of outdoor experiences.”

Eisenberg’s email did not specify the length of the upcoming trips, leaving the possibility of further revisions up in the air. 

“I’m pessimistic that Chris’s resignation will allow [the administration] to cut the trips to two nights now that there’s no administrator fighting for OA,” said Roland Scott PO ’22, an OEC staff member. 

Weyant-Forbes’ resignation comes a year and a half after former Director of Outdoor Education Martin Crawford was fired from Pomona amidst a series of pandemic-related staff cuts. 

Eisenberg is currently overseeing OEC operations while the search for a permanent coordinator is in progress. According to Scott, the new coordinator would begin June 1.

“For the next outdoor coordinator, I hope high value is placed on someone who can create a welcoming and accessible environment in the outdoors,” OEC staffer Nolan Clark PO ’22 said. “Chris was great at cultivating comfort and openness, so the next coordinator has big shoes to fill.”

Weyant-Forbes’ resignation has also impacted On The Loose, the 5C outdoor club, for which she was the faculty advisor. Clark, who is also on the staff of OTL, said that members were saddened by her departure but remain optimistic about the future.

“She was a great mentor and helped us in many ways, but on the flip side this may spur a new moment in how the club is organized and the ways in which trips are reviewed before they leave campus,” he said. “Chris was a great conduit of information from upper admin and that avenue being closed may pose some difficulties, but nothing we can’t work through.”

Eisenberg declined an interview request, referring to TSL to his announcement of Weyant-Forbes’ departure. Weyant-Forbes did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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