Take a hike—or ride your bike

Pre-orientation program taps into students’ sense of adventure

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DiscoveRIT is a set of optional four-day pre-orientation programs that allows students to embark on a mini adventure. The program was piloted last year when a team of six students trekked to the Adirondack Mountains.

A new series of pre-orientation activities is giving first-year students an exciting jumpstart to their collegiate careers. DiscoveRIT, an optional four-day program, allows students to embark on a mini adventure right before their RIT adventure begins.

First-year students can select to go backpacking, outdoor rock climbing or bicycling, or to join sessions designed to familiarize them with Rochester and RIT. DiscoveRIT’s mission goes beyond simply having a great time, however.

“This series of programs was designed to give new students an opportunity to connect to one another and the university outside of the classroom and the traditional orientation program in unique ways,” says Shawna Lusk, director of RIT’s New Student Orientation program. “Offering unforgettable experiences not only enriches the students’ experience while enrolled at RIT but also encourages them to become involved in a variety of ways when the academic year begins.”

New Student Orientation teamed with Interactive Adventures last year to pilot the program with an outdoor adventure called FACEtime, in which six first-year students hiked the High Peaks region of the Adirondack Mountains. The excursion received rave reviews from students, who felt the experience facilitated meeting new friends.

Outdoor orientation programs have emerged at several universities across the country. Research has shown that these programs create an affinity for these various universities, improve retention and establish a bond with fellow students, faculty and staff.

DiscoveRIT includes similar outdoor adventures, but also programs designed to incorporate the arts and teach the unique histories of the Rochester and RIT communities.

The programs run Aug. 28-31. For more information about the program, visit www.rit.edu/discoveRIT.