Dickinson College Pre-Orientation Adventure program is a two-and-a-half day to three day, small-group, theme-intensive experience open to incoming first-year and transfer students.
Students will begin their Dickinson experience by participating in one of our many programs designed for 10-15 students. Combining experiential education, team building, early involvement and leadership adventures, each program introduces students to Dickinson through interaction with new and current students, faculty, and staff. The Adventures cost $250. The fee includes food, accommodations, activities, supplies and transportation to and from campus. A $50 non-refundable deposit is required at registration via credit card for the online registration systems. Students who don't have a credit card should contact the Office of New Student Programs at 717-245-1671 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for a program. A limited number of scholarships are available.
2017 Pre-Orientation Adventure Program List
A Creative Writing Experience
This Pre-Orientation Program will allow first-years interested in creative writing to engage with similarly interested peers as they think critically about who they are as writers. The program will give students the intellectual space and guidance to develop their creative writing and workshopping techniques. Students will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with downtown Carlisle; discuss their work with Professors in the English and Creative Writing Department; share their work with others; and become part of a vibrant, collaborative creative community on campus.
A Sustainable Adventure: Place Matters
Take part in this unique local overnight adventure that will explore why place matters, demonstrate what sustainability means at Dickinson, and participate in an overnight experience that allows for personal reflection and goal setting in Michaux State Forest. We will sleep indoors at the all-equipped Ironmaster’s Mansion nestled in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park, swim in local lakes, hike to a rocky summit vista, kayak on Laurel Lake, and explore the rich history of the Pine Grove Iron Works. Spend time cooking local foods together in a group cooking lesson and sharing stories by a bonfire paired with local ice cream. Upon return, participants will work alongside Dickinson Sustainability staff and students to “Green Move In” for other first year students. No previous experiences required.
Behind the Events: MOB With US
Join MOB, the student programming board on campus, for two days of fun! Students will spend the first day getting to know each other while exploring campus resources and spaces and then actually manage an event for other first years. On the second day, they will relax and have some fun by spending the day at two of MOB's favorite places to hold off-campus events; the Carlisle Sports Emporium and Midway Bowling Alley. Students will then close out the day with a trip to one of our favorite restaurants in town! This pre-orientation adventure will help students dive right into campus activities while exploring the fun that Dickinson and Carlisle have to offer.
Behind the Scenes: Theatre at Dickinson
In Behind the Scenes, students will have the opportunity to learn all about what it takes to make theater at Dickinson-by making it themselves! Participants will meet current Theatre & Dance students and faculty, explore Dickinson’s performance spaces, work with lights, costumes, props, and scenery, and collaborate with each other to put on a show! The program is designed to accommodate students who are interested in performances as well as those who prefer the technical/backstage elements.
Change the World
Have you heard the quote, "Be the change you wish to see in the world" and thought, "I want to be that person!"? During this Pre-Orientation Adventure, students will explore the Social Change Leadership Model at Dickinson and discover how service can be a means to creating socially responsible and sustainable change. Students will connect to the Carlisle community, strengthen their leadership skills, challenge themselves through new experiences, and begin exploring what it means to be socially responsible leaders. Participants will do all this through community service as they begin to "change the world" at Dickinson.
Cuisine, Carlisle, & Climbing (C3)
Join the Office of Student Leadership & Campus Engagement for two days of food & fun! Students will spend the day building meaningful relationships through ropes course exercises and a night out on the town in Harrisburg. We will then learn to cooperatively prepare wonderful meals and snacks in a college residence environment.
Dance at Dickinson
Join the dance groups of Dickinson for two days full of artistic expression and diverse dancing, hosted by the Theatre and Dance Department and the Dance Theatre Group. With the help of guest teachers we will explore a variety of dance forms, from contemporary ballet, to jazz, hip hop, and Bollywood dance. We will spend the night to have conversations with Dickinson students about their experience in college life, both academic and dance aspects. Finally, we will work collaboratively through a choreography workshop to create a dance piece to perform at a showing for your fellow incoming classmates. All classes will be taught at an introductory level. No previous dance experience is necessary, all are welcome!
Food for Thought
Join the College Farm for some farm-based fun through the Food for Thought pre-orientation program! Participants will spend their days immersed in life on the farm. We will assist with farm work from animal chores to vegetable harvest. We will also learn and create during hands-on workshops led by farm staff. Finally, we will cook meals using College Farm products and spend a night under the stars! If you enjoy spending time outside, engaging in physical work, meeting fellow students passionate about farming and want to explore sustainable agriculture we hope you will join us!
Kick Start Dickinson
At Dickinson, we believe in the power of new innovators and the importance of innovation. The Idea Fund is here to help you become a future innovator on campus. The Idea Fund is a student-run organization that empowers students to identify and solve problems in the Dickinson community. We’re looking for students that want to learn more about how to engage with the community around them and propose projects that fill a need in that community. Through “Kickstart Dickinson”, you and a group of other incoming first-years will think critically about what needs are in our community and will find solutions that fill those needs. You will come up with an idea, design a project, and pitch it to a group of judges to see which is the best project. To aid you in this, you will be exposed to a host of on campus and off campus innovators and resources to aid in innovation.
Do you play an instrument or sing? Are you interested in participating in music ensembles, classes or lessons at Dickinson? Join members of the Music Department for a liberal arts-inspired pre-orientation adventure that will explore music as performance, social activism ,and popular culture both on and off campus.
New and Improv-ed
Are you witty? Quick on your feet? Aren’t sure? Find out by joining the New and IMPROVed Pre-Orientation program. This Pre-O will head to Harrisburg to enjoy a workshop with the Harrisburg Improv Theater, have lunch at El Sol Mexican Restaurant, and grab a beverage at Little Amps Coffee Roasters. Then we’ll prepare for the 3rd Annual Pre-O Performance Night, followed by a cast party with members of the other arts Pre-Os. It will be ... unpredictable!
Pawsitively Perfect: Pre-Orientation with the Dickinson College Dog House
Join the Dickinson College Dog House, a special-interest house and club on campus, in an introduction to raising and training service dogs! During this Pre-Orientation Adventure, you will become certified in clicker-training, visit the headquarters of Susquehanna Service Dogs, and take an outing with service dogs-in-training. Students will also build a community with fellow dog-lovers, explore the Dickinson campus and Carlisle restaurants, and spend some quality time with the Dog House dogs. No previous experience training dogs is necessary!
Social Justice at Dickinson: Discovering Your Social Justice Story
This Pre-O experience is designed for first-year students who are interested in and passionate about diversity and social justice. Through a series of interactive and engaging activities, including storytelling and creative expression, the program will engage students in exploration of their intersectional identities and reflective dialogues about diversity, and will encourage them to develop their capacities to effect positive change on campus and in the community. Participants will expand their understanding of social justice issues and practices and learn about campus and local resources relevant to social justice. The program will culminate in the creation of individual social justice stories with an optional public performance.
WILD (Wilderness Introduction to Life at Dickinson)
WILD programs are all designed with common elements and experiences. All WILD programs are created to introduce first-year students to the many different outdoor experiences that exist within the region.
WILD - Discover Rock Climbing in Pennsylvania
This program will introduce students to the basics of rock climbing right in our own backyard here in PA. Students will be going to Shaffer’s Rock climbing crag (rock face) and staying in the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club’s Hermitage Wilderness Cabin only 2 minutes from the crag! Students will spend two days learning all the basics of top roping and bouldering as well as build strong bonds with other first years in an outdoor wilderness setting. No rock climbing experience required.
WILD - Rafting and Hiking
This Pre-Orientation Adventure trip will give first- year students the opportunity to experience Ohiopyle State Park in Western Pennsylvania, while building lasting friendships and preparing for the transition to college life. Students will spend one day whitewater rafting on the Lower Youghiogheny River which consists of class III and IV rapids, a fun challenge for both beginner and moderate level rafters. The next day will be spent hiking through scenic Ohiopyle State Park. Throughout the duration of the trip, students will learn basic camping, outdoor, and leadership skills. This trip will focus on getting to know one another, learning more about student life at Dickinson from the perspective of the student leaders before orientation, and having a blast doing so!
WILD - Canoeing Adventure on the Susquehanna River Trail
On this Pre-Orientation Adventure, students will experience the outdoors while building bonds with each other and learning the skills needed to be an outdoor enthusiast. This trip will take place on the Susquehanna River on the section north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital. On this trip, students will canoe 22 miles down the river towards Harrisburg, camp on islands, and end in Harrisburg where students will have time to eat lunch and explore the state’s capital. Along with the experience, students will also learn basic camping skills, outdoor skills, and whatever they want to know about Dickinson, all while creating friendships with fellow first years. No experience necessary, but students should be strong swimmers in the river. We will be offering 2 different trips for this program.
WILD - Where in the Natural World are We? Explore PA’s Ecology and Hiking trail Network
Carlisle is surrounded by amazing state parks and forests. During this Pre-Orientation Adventure, the group will stay in a Potomac Appalachian Trail Club wilderness cabin and go on hiking excursions to learn about the local ecology, conservation efforts, and sustainability work. The group will also have the opportunity to work on a habitat restoration project in Michaux State Forest alongside the regional ecologist and local PATC trail stewardship volunteers. Throughout the duration of the trip, students will learn basic camping, outdoor, and leadership skills. This trip will focus on getting to know one another, learning more about student life at Dickinson from the perspective of the student leaders before orientation, giving back to the community, and just having fun.
WILD - Backpacking in Pennsylvania Mountains
This Pre-Orientation Adventure will give first-year students the opportunity to experience incredible backpacking opportunities that exist just a short drive from campus, while building lasting friendships and preparing for the transition to college life. Students will spend three nights and four days backpacking and hiking through areas offering beautiful rocky vistas, forested valleys and pristine creeks to cool off. Learn skills such as backcountry cooking, map reading and other outdoor skills. This trip will focus on getting to know one another, learning more about student life at Dickinson from the perspective of the student leaders before orientation, and having a blast doing so! Four different trips will be offered.
WILD - Mountain Biking and Standup Paddleboarding at Raystown Lake
Experience world-class mountain biking on the flowy, beginner-friendly trails of Allegrippis system on the shores of Raystown Lake. Spend 2 days biking and then an evening on a guided standup paddleboard tour of the lake. Each night will be spent camping in the park. Throughout the duration of the trip, students will learn basic camping, outdoor, and leadership skills. This trip will also focus on getting to know one another, learning more about student life at Dickinson from the perspective of the student leaders, and having fun! No mountain bike experience required, but you must be able to confidently ride a bike.
WILD - Caving and Bouldering in the Catoctin Mountains
During this trip, students will enjoy bouldering and caving in northern Maryland. Students will camp out each night in beautiful Cunningham Falls State Park where there will be opportunities to explore. Throughout this outdoor experience, students will learn basic outdoor skills and whatever they want to know about Dickinson, all while building bonds with other first years and student mentors. No experience needed.
WILD - Kayaking and Hiking in the Poconos
Experience Pennsylvania’s Poconos mountains from both river and trail. Spend a day paddling introductory whitewater on the Lehigh River and time hiking along nearby trails. Each night will be spent camping in Hickory Run State Park. Throughout the duration of the trip, students will learn basic camping, outdoor, and leadership skills. This trip will also focus on getting to know one another, learning more about student life at Dickinson from the perspective of the student leaders, and having fun! No kayaking experience necessary, but you must be able to swim.