WASHINGTON, PA (Aug. 18, 2011)—More than a dozen incoming freshman at Washington & Jefferson College will arrive on campus the first part of next month with an early education in what college is all about.
Fourteen soon-to-be students recently had the opportunity to participate in W&J’s first-ever First-Year Summer Outdoor Experience, a pilot program created to help incoming students prepare for college, create new friendships, develop teamwork and leadership skills and ultimately, have fun.
“With any freshman year in college, there is a time of adjustment, the fear of not knowing anyone, of being away from home,” said Steve Anderson, associate dean of students at W&J. “This program was designed to introduce participating students to college life, to allow them to feel connected and to enter college in a proper frame of mind.”
Anderson was joined by Jason Kilgore, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, as program advisors and student facilitators Kelsie Goodwin ’13 and Braden Fyffe ’13. The week-long program at Ohiopyle State Park included free time and group activities. The group shared the responsibilities of preparing, cooking, and cleaning for each meal.
“The idea was to provide an outdoor summer orientation experience to introduce select incoming first-year students to peers, staff and faculty at W&J and to help ease the adjustment of incoming students to college life at W&J,” Anderson said. “We embrace the philosophy of experiential learning while guiding students to develop self-awareness, enhance relationships and define community.”
Activities included a guided tour of the lower caves at Laurel Caverns, a trip to Meadow Run Natural Waterslides at Ohiopyle, camp activities at Kentuck Knob Campground, tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater house, a hike to scenic vistas and waterfalls in Ohiopyle and whitewater rafting.
Freshman Victoria Dyan Forkus, a resident of Maine, said she was very interested in exploring her new college and found the program to be a perfect solution.
“For one, living over seven hundred miles from the W&J campus has made me slightly nervous about heading there this fall. I believe that I have chosen the right college, and that I will be successful there. The summer outdoor experience allowed me the comfort of viewing the campus beforehand, and meeting some of my fellow classmates. I plan on doing all that I can to immerse myself in the college community.”
The Fall semester at W&J begins Sept. 5.