From a town south of Albany called East Greenbush, Plattsburgh State student Jenny Horowitz came into school with her first college adventure already under her belt.
The Odyssey program at PSUC gives first-year students an opportunity to explore the natural environment of the Lake Champlain-Adirondack mountain region before even attending school.
Growing up loving the outdoors, Horowitz signed up with no hesitation.
Taking place in Twin Valleys, Horowitz and other students went rock-climbing, canoeing, took rope courses and went hiking.
“I never went hiking before the program, so it was really awesome to try it,” she said. “It takes so long to get to the top, but it’s so much fun when you get there.”
With her dedication of hiking growing, this past summer Horowitz started the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks. She has taken on 13 of these high peaks, which are all above 4,000 feet in elevation, but isn’t rushing to finish all of them.
Even with hiking close to her heart, slacklining will always be her number one.
Starting in freshman year after her RA told her to come to a meeting, Horowitz fell in love with something that started out as just a hobby.
“I really sucked in the beginning, but that made me want to get better,” she said. “I kept coming back, and I kept pushing myself to where I am today.”
Platty Slack became a club in October of Horowitz’s sophomore year, becoming something that “would be here forever and to shape the community of Plattsburgh.”
Being good friends with the four seniors who put the club together, and being there for the whole process, Horowitz and four others were passed down the club. Today, she is the secretary of Platty Slack and said, “It’s an amazing experience to be a part of.”
“Slacklining is my escape,” she said. “It’s my stress reliever. It’s my favorite thing to do.”
Horowitz isn’t alone. More than 30 people come to the weekly meetings, and the club has gotten more than 100 people to participate in its events.
Her favorite type of slacklining is high lining. This type of slacklining is an inch thick line going across 100 feet, but it increases in height as someone walks across.
“The body is panicking while you’re trying to stay calm,” Horowitz said. “You really need to control yourself when slacklining, and I love the challenge to it.”
Slackline Industries, a company based in Louisville, CO, heard of Horowitz passion for slacklining and wanted her part of the team immediately.
“I was in Colorado visiting friends and this guy came over for dinner. The next day he contacted me over Facebook and offered me a position of being an ambassador for their company,” Horowitz said.
The company, which wants to spread slacklining across the globe, has only been in the business for one year, but has a large team, including Horowitz and 24 other ambassadors around the globe.
Justin Wagers, pro-team manager of Slackline Industries, said an ambassador is someone who represents slacklining with the company’s support. The company gives these selected people to its social media pages and lets them post things about slacklining, all while sending them gear to help bring the Slackline Industries name around the world.
“We saw that Jenny is part of a college club. We saw how passionate she is about slacklining and we really like that,” Wagers said. “We’re really appreciative of her, and we will continue to support her.”
Since childhood, Horowitz always found herself outside and playing in the woods.
Her affection of nature grew as she got older and found it playing a role on what she wanted to do after college.
“I would love to work where I can work with kids and make them appreciate the environment,” she said. “There’s so much out there, and not a lot of people explore it. I want people to see what I see.”
Graduating in the spring with an environmental science degree, Horowitz has received a job opportunity to travel to Alaska and be a travel-adventure camp counselor.
Horowitz said her job would be to take underprivileged children on tours in Alaska by three-day backpacking and canoeing trips. The children would also learn horseback riding and archery.
Another opportunity Horowitz had was being a CA at PSUC. A CA is a community advocate on campus, but only in freshman dorms.
Horowitz said freshman housing can be more hectic and harder to control, so a CA and RA are on every floor, giving the students someone to talk to or hangout with.
“This is my second year doing this, and I love it,” she said.
While adding it can be stressful at some points, Horowitz said, “It’s so rewarding when they (the students) come to you and asks for your help.”
Whiteface RD Ryan Fincham said Horowitz is a great part of his team.
“She’s definitely one of the people I can rely on,” he said.
Fincham said Horowitz relates to a lot of people.
“Jenny brings her experience from her major and her interests into being a CA, and it really gives the freshman a chance to open their eye to new experiences,” he said.
“I love coming home to 35 people wanting to hear how weird my day was,” she said.
Danielle Attanasio, a senior majoring in biology and physics, has been an RA with Horowitz for two years in Whiteface.
Attanasio said Horowitz is “very real and doesn’t pretend to be someone she’s not.”
“The residents love her. They are drawn to her very early on, and its great because she makes these awesome relationships throughout the year,” Attanasio said.
Attanasio said Horowitz carriers herself well and that she is, “very approachable, and people are always intrigued on what she’s doing.”
Over the two years of working together, Attanasio said she is glad she knows Horowitz and “grateful for the experiences we have had together.”
Email Samantha Stahl at firstname.lastname@example.org