The word aurora refers to the dawn, as well as to the natural electrical phenomena of colorful streams of light in the night sky — usually near the magnetic poles. Similarly, AURORA Penn State Outdoor Orientation Programs offer a powerful start to a student’s Penn State experience. These five exciting programs — ORION, POLARIS, RIGEL, URSA, and VEGA — offer first-year students a unique entrance into Penn State life — forging friendships and unforgettable adventures to carry with them always, and earning them 3 GHA credits along the way. Which of the five life-changing AURORA experiences will you choose?
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Learn more about the AURORA programs:
ORION Wilderness Experience
ORION (KINES 89 — Student Wilderness Experience) is our longest-running program, started in 1996, and is based at Penn State’s University Park campus. One session is available for first-year students coming to University Park campus, and one summer session is available for incoming students admitted to all other Penn State campuses. Students go on a hiking adventure on central Pennsylvania trails for five days.
POLARIS North Woods Wilderness
POLARIS (KINES 89 — Student Wilderness Experience) is for first-year students coming to University Park campus, and takes place in the north woods of New England, where challenging terrain will offer both rewarding beauty and new friendships. Students will meet their group leaders at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, and travel to the White Mountains, where they will be based at a camp and go on day hikes and an overnight with their group. This trip culminates with a day of adventure at Hulbert Outdoor Center.
RIGEL Wilderness Orientation Experience for Change of Campus Students
RIGEL (KINES 89 — Student Wilderness Experience) is the AURORA program for students transitioning to Penn State University Park. It is modeled after the award-winning ORION outdoor orientation program. Participants spend five days in the scenic woods of central Pennsylvania, learning about life at Penn State and making meaning connections as they prepare for their next chapter at a new campus!
URSA Urban Service Experience
URSA (KINES 89 — Student Wilderness Experience) is for first-year students coming to University Park campus. Students will spend 5 days “hiking” through Philadelphia, while participating in various service projects and sleeping at unique sites along the way. They will have an opportunity to see the impacts of the service they have performed, and also explore cultural elements of Philadelphia and its history.
VEGA West Coast Wilderness
VEGA (KINES 89 — Student Wilderness Experience) is for first-year students coming to University Park campus, and takes place in Olympic National Park, Washington. Students will meet their group leaders at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where they will embark on five days of a coastal or mountain wilderness expedition. This trip culminates with a day of sea kayaking.