Have you learned about AURORA?

This page covers information regarding ORION, AURORA’s longest running expedition that takes place in the wilderness surrounding University Park. To learn about general AURORA issues and concerns regarding physical fitness, required equipment, expected level of experience, and more, visit the AURORA FAQ.


Nestled in the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, University Park is surrounded by seemingly endless beauty. ORION takes advantage of Penn State’s location and sends you into the Pennsylvania wilderness. Our most popular expedition, ORION has received the seal of approval from thousands of students. It’s close, it’s your new home, and it’s waiting for you!

ORION sends you backpacking in the rugged, beautiful terrain of central Pennsylvania for several days and nights. You’ll learn how to camp, backpack, and care for both yourself and the environment.

I can do this if I’m enrolled at a different campus?

Yes! Expeditions are available for non-University Park students. We believe ORION is just too fun and too good, so we made it available for all — the exact same expedition, the exact same experience!

Does it cost money?

ORION is a 3-credit course. Tuition rates will vary depending on enrollment status, campus of enrollment, and other potential variables. Students registered as full-time receive no additional tuition fee up to 19 credits. Above 19 credits, students are subject to Penn State’s tuition surcharge. ORION expeditions are billed to the fall semester. For details regarding your specific tuition charges, please visit tuition.psu.edu to explore the tuition calculator or to find contact information to reach out to the Bursar Office with questions.

There is a class fee of $295 for all participants. This fee will be billed directly to your student account at the start of the fall semester. It covers the cost of instruction, special equipment, transportation, camping gear, and food for the expedition.

If you must cancel, please do so by emailing aurora.registration@psu.edu.  If you cancel on or after June 1, you will be charged a cancellation fee of $295.

Where do we meet? Can I park my car?

ORION begins on campus at University Park. From there, you will be shuttled into the wilderness after an opening orientation. If you choose to drive yourself, you may park your vehicle on-site for the duration of your expedition for a nominal fee. Information about how to purchase a parking pass will be shared closer to the start of your expedition.

I registered! Now what?

You will receive, via email, the Essential Information Packet containing all necessary information, including detailed travel information and a list of required items.

Pay attention to your course schedule. Due to the nature of Penn State’s registration policies and timeline, KINES 89 will be added to your LionPath schedule no later than then first week of classes for the semester in which you are enrolled. KINES 089 is ORION. If you have submitted your application and received confirmation of your acceptance into the program, consider yourself registered!

Lastly, check out what we’re up to on Instagram and Facebook as you wait desperately in anticipation for your expedition!