CSU, Chico News

Outdoor Trips Offer New Students Healthy, Adventurous Transition

Date: 02-20-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Keith Crawford, Assistant Coordinator
Adventure Outings

New students to California State University, Chico can make friends and build skills needed for college life through an innovative outdoor program called Wildcat Wilderness Orientation (WWO).

Designed for incoming freshmen and transfer students, WWO offers multiple-day excursions in June and July to several Northern California locations. Through a variety of outdoor activities, including day hiking, canoeing and backpacking, the trips provide an opportunity for new students to connect with each other, build leadership skills, increase their self-confidence and learn to problem solve. Formerly known as Chico Bound, the program is offered through the Associated Students’ Adventure Outings, a student-led organization that hosts year-round outdoor trips and operates an equipment rental center on campus.

WWO leaders use the wilderness expeditions to help new students develop skills that are important in the collegiate environment. In some cases, students are asked to plan out and direct several days of the backpacking trip, building leadership and time-management skills. At the end of the day, leaders discuss with students how they might transfer those skills to campus.

In addition, says Adventure Outings Assistant Coordinator Keith Crawford, incoming students make lasting relationships by overcoming the natural challenges of a wilderness expedition with their small group.

“Spending four to five days in the wilderness with a group tends to create tight bonds,” Crawford said. “These tight bonds will give the students the benefit of having friends before even moving to campus. The tight-knit nature of the group will also allow them to have meaningful and open conversations about college life, which we believe helps debunk some of the popular myths of campus life.”

WWO curriculum is based on extensive research linking outdoor orientation programs with positive student outcomes, including higher first-year retention rates, increased self-confidence, a better understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses, increased self-awareness and an overall easier transition into college.

Trips range from a multi-element tour through Northern California introducing students to many of the adventures within driving distance of CSU, Chico, to paddling on the Sacramento River, to backpacking through lush forests and on granite peaks. Trip dates and locations are

  • June 20-23: Lassen Caving and Backpacking Tour
  • July 11-15: Sacramento River Canoeing Expedition
  • July 18-22: Castle Crags Camp, Canoe and Hike
  • July 24-28: Trinity Alps Backpacking

Registration fees range from $150-$200, and scholarship funds are available. Trips may also be coordinated with summer campus orientation sessions. For more information and to register, please visit www.aschico.com/wwo.