Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center is closed as part of Penn State’s efforts to maintain public health and safety in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. For questions about cancellations, program changes, or virtual delivery due to the coronavirus pandemic, please contact us at For the latest updates and information, visit:

URSA Urban Service

Note: URSA Urban Service will not be held in 2021.

Check back for news about the return of the program.

The Adventure of AURORA — in a City!URSA

We hear you; you wanna go on an expedition but you just can’t imagine doing number two in the woods. To help out, we developed URSA to deliver the same AURORA experience, only in an urban setting: Philadelphia. And we know you want to make a difference and give back to communities in need, so we made it the Urban Service Expedition. Since 2000, students just like you have backpacked through Philadelphia doing important community service. Spanning five days, URSA will have you exploring Philadelphia’s vast culture, tasting the local cuisine, and sleeping at sites of cultural and historical significance, all while earning three credits and easing the transition into college! Offered only to first-year students starting at University Park.

During URSA, You’ll…

  • Earn perspective and understanding through service
  • Engage in fun, challenging outdoor experiences
  • Meet other incoming students and explore while serving together
  • See firsthand the effects of your service
  • Foster your personal wellness; bolster your self-esteem
  • Learn for life the skill of backpacking
  • Discover a stronger appreciation for local communities
  • Gain insight into life at Penn State and how to succeed

Wanna Know More?

All of our expeditions are unique in their own way. Take a look at URSA’s frequently asked questions to learn more about our Urban Service Expedition.

Registration Information

Note: URSA will not be offered in 2021. Check back for information about the return of the program.