For the last 44 years, the WVU Grotto Club has operated as a group of committed and passionate cavers.

“We benefit from a long line of cavers in the community that have stuck around that love the state and its topography,” said Thomas Spotloe, a junior geology major and the club’s social media coordinator.

Open to all majors, the Grotto Club is a place where those that have an interest in caving and outside adventures can thrive. The club is also open to all skill levels.

At the beginning of each semester, the club embarks on a weekend trip visiting a well-known cave, usually in West Virginia. This semester’s trip had record participation numbers with over 50 students interested in learning about caving.

As the COVID-19 pandemic affected the club’s abilities to go on trips and meet in person, the trips during the last two years were conducted individually. However, with the possibility of meeting in person this year, the club is back and better than ever.

“I think we handled COVID in a very remarkable way and I thought and we came out stronger in the way of our culture and stronger in the way of our membership than we could have expected to,” Spotloe said.

The club holds weekly meetings every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Brooks Hall and hosts wall climbing sessions at WVU’s Campus Recreation Center.

“We have multiple trips going out every weekend, which is new for us,” Spotloe said.

As club leaders are eager to educate members on professional aspects of caving and what life can be after the Grotto Club, these weekly trips give students flexibility in their commitments to caving, as they are not mandatory.

Big trips also happen every semester. Currently the club is gearing up to travel to Kentucky, where members will be able to navigate the cave system and spend a week camping.

During spring break, the club plans to visit the epicenter of caving in the United States, located in the states Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

Spotloe described the experience, “Having the opportunity to see and survey, never before seen parts of the earth that are right here under your feet. And that is just something that no other club on campus can really claim.”

With only $15 in annual dues, the Grotto Club is a great way for students to pursue their passions of adventure.

Those interested in the Grotto Club can find more information on Instagram @wvustudentgrotto or keep an eye out for the staple orange caving sticker, located on member’s cars, water bottles or computers.

Grotto Sticker

The National Speleological Society Bat Sticker is carried by members of the Grotto Club.

Staff Writer

I'm a junior International Studies major from Garland, Texas. I love writing and reading and my interests are in politics and international relations.