Georgia Tech's Outdoor Rec Program Heads to Alaska

This summer, incoming freshmen at the Georgia Institute of Technology will have an opportunity to start their college careers in Alaska. Outdoor Recreation Georgia Tech (ORGT), a program within Campus Recreation, is partnering with Success Programs and FASET to bring a new element to freshman orientation. A part of the "Tech Treks" freshman orientation program, this 14-day trip will include backpacking, sea kayaking, commercial fishing, wildlife viewing, and more in Denali National Park as well as Kenai Fjord Tours. Other highlights will include traveling on the Alaskan Railroad, "Denali Star," camping at a raspberry farm, and yoga in the backcountry. These adventurous activities are not solely focused on physical challenges, but mental and social development as well.

The twelve students selected for this inaugural program will begin their journey by reading "Into the Wild" by John Krakauer. Once on the trip, students and leaders will learn about the local geography, environment and culture. The group will study and practice the use of GPS devices, map and compass skills; "Leave No Trace" principles; and expedition behavior. Led by four guides, each with more than 10 years' experience in outdoor recreation and education, students will build self-confidence, self-motivation, and critical thinking, social, and judgment skills. This opportunity is also an excellent way for students to build lasting relationships.

According to Leigh Jackson-Magennis, trip leader, "I think this orientation experience will challenge, motivate and help to build transferable skills and friendships for the students who choose to join us. I lived in Alaska for nine years and led a similar trip for students at Western Carolina University. I can tell you that the impressions and lessons learned on this adventure will last a lifetime. I am looking forward to seeing the smiles and awe on the faces of all the incoming freshmen as they learn more about Alaska, themselves and their fellow adventurers."

This backpacking expedition to South Central Alaska will take place July 28-August 10 and costs $1,800 plus airfare. Incoming freshmen who have been accepted to Georgia Tech can apply online at www.crc.gatech.edu/orgt/freshmenorientation.php. Students must write an essay based on their desire for outdoor adventure in Alaska, willingness to participate in the planned activities and ability to adapt to the challenges of a small group setting. The first twelve qualified participants will be selected on a first come, first served basis. For information on payment plans, please contact the trip leader at leigh.jackson@crc.gatech.edu.

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