August 27-30 2003, a total of 634 students engaged in Colorado College’s first Orientation Trip Program. The Priddy Experience was the first time that any such opportunity has been provided for the entire incoming class of students. The experience was made possible by the support of the Priddy Grant and marks the beginning of a new era in how students begin their college career at CC.
The overall purpose of the program is to provide an enhanced Orientation experience for our incoming student body. The goal of the Orientation trips was to provide an introduction to both incoming and returning CC students, to the College as a whole and to the surrounding area of the southwest. It is evident that the trips succeeded in accomplishing this goal.
A variety of settings were used for facilitation of this program. Trips were either focused on community service or exploration of the Rocky Mountain backcountry. Approximately 360 students engaged in three-day community service efforts following the established BreakOut model from the Center for Service and Learning. The remaining 180 students were part of backpacking trips following an established model from our past “Pre-Orientation” program and from our Outdoor Recreation Committee (ORC).
Service Trip Summary
Service trips varied widely. A total of 39 groups traveled from Colorado Springs to places as close as Denver and to places as far away as Cuba, NM and Durango, CO. Students engaged in service ranging from Alamosa Habitat for Humanity and the Comanche National Grasslands to the Trinidad Red Cross and the Santa Fe Rape Crisis Center. Students were assigned to groups of up to twelve with two returning CC students serving as trip leaders. Group reflections and discussion were a large part of these trips. These group times served as an opportunity to learn from the projects while continuing the process of orientation to one another, CC, and the southwest community.
During two days of service, over 8,000 hours of student service was provided to 36 southwest community partners. This equals more than 3.5 years of one individual working 8-hour days!
- “I bonded well with my group in a way I had not expected. Eating together, digging together and sleeping together creates a feeling that we all depend on each other to make the trip worthwhile and fun. Going to the Tiger’s (community high school) football game showed me the importance of community activities in the southwest and the emphasis on community service.” (Comanche National Grasslands Participant – La Junta, CO)
- “I gained a better understanding of the value of organic farming techniques, something I knew little about before-hand. Having only briefly visited New Mexico prior to this trip, I came away with a heightened appreciation for the culture and atmosphere of Santa Fe.” (Community Farm Participant – Santa Fe, NM)
- “I learned to push my physical limitations. I also learned that there is a strong connection to the region among the people of the southwest – they’re passionate about where they live and appreciate the help.”(Arts de Valle Participant – La Garita, CO)
- “My group was really excited about CC – they asked questions, had discussions, and also wanted to be doing service with each other.” (St. Martin’s Hospitality Center Student Leader – Albuquerque, NM)
- “The strengths of our trip were the group of students, the site location, and the freedom we were given on the site. All of the first-years were really interesting people and actually all of them got along well, which I think was brought on by having a small group. The actual ranch was beautiful and lots of freshmen went exploring.” (Mountain Trails Youth Ranch Student Leader – Monte Vista, CO)