Incoming Hobart and William Smith first-year students are invited to find adventure and form lasting friendships through the Colleges’ Pre-Orientation Adventure Program (POAP). Students choose from a variety of trips, including backpacking, kayaking, sailing or community service, for a four-day experience. This year, POAP runs from Saturday, Aug. 17 through Wednesday, Aug. 21.
“These trips are a unique and effective way for incoming students to make connections with both first years and upperclassmen before traditional Orientation begins, all while having fun before school starts,” says Anna Moreau ’20, Pre-Orientation Adventure Program Coordinator.
POAP programs are designed for a variety of experience levels. No matter which program students pick, Moreau says, they will gain confidence and build leadership and team working skills. “People who participate in POAP learn the ‘inside scoop’ about what life is like at HWS from upperclassmen guides.”
Students who participated in POAP in previous years reflect on how easily friendships form during outdoor activities. “Hiking and spending days with the same group of people brings you closer to one another,” says Jack Polentes ’21. “Something about nature washes away all of our guards and helps me get to know my guides and POAPers quickly.”
Annie Wertheimer ’22 believes POAP gave her an extra boost of confidence before beginning the academic year. “After having zero experience in the outdoors, to say I had a great time would be an understatement. It was a great way to start off my college experience.”
Various trips give students experience in camping and survival skills, such as setting up a tent, packing, cooking on a travel stove, wilderness sanitation, water filtration and “leave no trace principles.” Additionally, students have the opportunity to become familiar with the natural landscape of the Finger Lakes region or meet community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.
Students can register online by completing the “Pre-Orientation Adventure Program” task on the Orientation website by July 31. If you have already opted out of the program online but would like to participate, or would like more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (315)-781-3056.