Two groups of first-year students will arrive at new student orientation later this month with a jump start on their fellow classmates in the "getting to know you" department. They'll have stories of bonding over long van rides with a myriad of musical offerings, sitting around campfires getting the inside scoop about all things Saint Anselm, and be able to share their knowledge of the Adirondack region of New York and Gettysburg area of Pennsylvania.
Passages, Saint Anselm College’s pre-orientation adventure leadership program, now in its second year offered two trips, tailored to introducing first-year students to Saint Anselm, while never setting foot in a classroom or campus facility
Jean Couture, Director of Student Activities and Leadership Programs, who coordinated and accompanied the students noted that the trips are designed "for students, by students."
"Passages is a great opportunity to get acclimated, start college with an amazing group of friends, and spend time learning and having fun in exciting locations," said Couture. "We had two great groups of students. The bonding among peers and sense of community they created after just five days sums up what it means to be an Anselmian."
Eleven students spent five days in the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York with two rising sophomore-guides (participants themselves in the program last year) exploring the ecology of Lake George, geology of the high peaks and history of the 6.1 million acre National Historic Landmark. The trip centered around outdoor adventure, offering daily opportunities to engage in rafting, kayaking, swimming and breathtaking cliff jumping (the ultimate trust-building activity.)
Gathering at the fire ring overlooking pristine Pyramid Lake each night offered students the opportunity to bond, and ask the questions about college life that student-leaders Rheanne Farrington and Kane Molleo '15 had just one year ago as incoming students themselves.
Two rising seniors, Lisa Kwolek and Matt Pendergast joined Farrington as co-leaders to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in a trip that catered to fifteen trivia buffs and emerging leaders. The itinerary provided five days of exploration of the historical battlefields while exploring the effects and causes of conflict and highlighting leadership and courageous acts of valor. Students, of course, engaged in their own community building (particularly on the eight-hour drive from campus to-and-from Pennsylvania.)
The group was also charged with budgeting and preparing their own meals: an important skill for apartment-style living on campus.