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The Priddy Experience first began in August 27-30, 2003, when a total of 634 incoming CC students engaged in Colorado College’s first Orientation Trip Program. 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 is 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. These trips are very highly regarded by students as an important piece of their first experience in the Southwest and at CC!

Priddy Experience Trips travel to a variety of sites in Colorado, New Mexico, and the Rocky Mountain Southwest. Each trip travels to their own specific site to work with a program or organization for two days of their trip, focusing either on community service or stewardship of the Rocky Mountain backcountry. From Colorado Springs, Denver, and Durango, to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, students engage in service ranging from Alamosa Habitat for Humanity and the Comanche National Grasslands to Rocky Mountain Field Institute and the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative. In addition to providing these sites with many working hands for important projects, many sites also encourage students to explore concepts closely tied to the site, such as sustainable farming, community development, and environmental stewardship. 

Each fall more than 400 incoming students engage in two days of service at these sites, followed by one "cultural day" to explore the local surroundings as a group. Groups have ample time to begin building relationships with their fellow classmates, and gain insight and mentorship from their upperclassman leaders. Group reflections and discussion surrounding academics and the culture at CC are a large part of the trip, and provide opportunity for incoming students to begin goal-setting and preparing for their upcoming first year experience.

During these two days of service, over 8,000 hours of student service is provided to over 36 southwest community partners. This equals more than 3.5 years of one individual working 8-hour days!


Student comments

  • “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)