This orientation is truly an adventure

At Unity College, is far more than just a series of slides and a tour of campus, Micky Bedell reports for Bangor Daily News.

Many campuses have quirky orientation traditions, such as designing and building a roller coaster. At Unity, the summer leading up to the first semester of classes is an adventure—literally. Groups of 12 students spend a week together in the Maine wilderness during the Nova program, named for Maine's Lake Nova.

They can't bring cell phones. There are no parents or faculty. It's just a group of students who can express how they're feeling about college and what they want for their future.

The students go backpacking, kayaking, and canoeing. They also complete community service projects together.

"These students go on the trips not fully understanding what they're getting themselves into. But I'll tell you—when they return, they're dirty, they're stinky and they're happy," says Jes Steele, director of the Outdoor Adventure Center at the college.

Administrators at Unity College believe it is important for students to have outdoor experiences and simultaneously build social bonds to support them throughout college, Bedell writes. "One reason we strongly believe in [the program] is that you cannot be a student of the environment if you don't go out and experience it," says Melik Peter Khoury, president of Unity College (Bedell, Bangor Daily News, 8/21).

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