This summer, Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) and Venture partner to launch SOAR Outdoor, a five-day outdoor orientation program that builds on the University-wide SOAR experience for freshmen and transfer students. Two trips are offered in this summer’s pilot program with future expansion based on demand.
Venture provides the hiking and camping gear, meals, and weather-resistant clothing for the five-day experience. The all-inclusive program costs $200 per student, which is below the average cost for programs of this nature at similar institutions.
"This program is not just for outdoor experts," said Dave Sperry, Director of the Venture Program. "If you've been curious about trying an outdoor adventure, this would be a great way to get started."
After regular SOAR activities end, SOAR Outdoor participating students meet with Venture staff and student leaders. On the first night, students remain on campus and, among other activities, experience team-building through an introduction to the Venture ropes course. The remaining four days are spent hiking and camping in Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina. A culminating experience on Venture’s high ropes course concludes the trip.
Like other programs of its kind, SOAR Outdoor is founded on the idea that the challenge and novel experience of outdoor orientation programs can foster the development of meaningful relationships among incoming students and their trip leaders. It is these types of relationships that have long-term impact on students’ experience at the University as well as their own personal development and growth.