Incoming Students Receive Early Introduction to College

WASHINGTON, PA (July 9, 2012)—For the second year in a row, a group of incoming first-year students at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) will arrive on campus in the Fall having had a preview of college life through a unique outdoor experience.

Seventeen incoming students, along with four student facilitators and two staff/ faculty advisers, participated in W&J’s First-Year Summer Outdoor Experience, a program created to help incoming students prepare for college, create new friendships and develop valuable teamwork and leadership skills.

“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 Michael McCracken, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, and student facilitators, Alex Davin ’15, Michaela Lies ’15, Metzli Rivera ’14 and Whitney Sims-Rucker ’13.

“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 Campground, tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house, a hike to scenic vistas and waterfalls in Ohiopyle, and zip lining and whitewater rafting.

“Not only did I get to try new things and make new friends, I also learned how to challenge myself and support my new friends,” said Keri Reeves, incoming freshman from Calimesa, Calif. “This trip helped prepare me for both the challenges and sometimes frightening aspects of college by creating a support system of friends and encouraging me not to be afraid of taking risks because sometimes, we even surprise ourselves with the things we can push ourselves to do. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I'm glad to say that I have made many new friends that I'm confident will last a lifetime.”

The fall semester at W&J begins Sept. 3.