Tech Outdoor Orientation Program
Tech Outdoor Orientation (TOO) is a program for new WVU Tech students to assist them in making a successful transition to college life and academics. This six day program allows students to learn about the university, make friends and increase self-confidence by challenging themselves to some of the amazing outdoor adventures here in West Virginia. TOO is available in two formats this year including our TOO – Gorge operated in the local Beckley and New River Gorge area and our new TOO – Highlands program that will travel a few hours from campus to adventure in Monongahela National Forest. Here are some highlights of what you will experience in each:
TOO – Gorge
Within an hour of Beckley are world class trails, rivers and climbing facilities centered around the New River Gorge National River. This program will include hiking, challenge course, climbing and whitewater rafting over the week. Each night the group will return to our group camping area for showers, food and evening activities. Camping is in Tech Adventures tents and group will work cooperatively to set up camp, cook meals and perform camp duties. Each evening there will be a campfire discussion on different aspects of college life and strategies for successful navigation of their challenges.
Each day the group will travel by van to a different venue in the Beckley region to participate in an adventure activity. Planned activities include a challenge course, hikes, rock climbing, whitewater rafting and a service project. Activities are led by Tech Adventures staff and local outfitters. Each activity is designed to build group teamwork, support individual self-confidence and provide healthy outdoor fun.
Some flexibility is built into the schedule to allow for changing weather, group readiness and external variables. Activities planned for each program are:
Day 1 – Check-In, Meet and Greet – Program check-in begins at 11:30 AM at the Tech Adventures office at 704 South Kanawha Street. Students and their guests will meet university officials, participate in a campus tour and join in a family lunch at WVU Tech’s Beckley campus. After lunch families will depart and there will be a trip briefing and equipment check. Group will pack program vehicles and travel to their campsite. At camp group will set up tents and kitchen then cook dinner. Each evening will end with a group discussion and brief of the next day’s activities.
Day 2 – Challenge Course Day – Challenge courses are a series of activities, manmade obstacles and puzzles that a facilitator leads the group through. These activities and group discussions help participants get to know each other better, improve communications and support teamwork.
Day 3 – Hike and Service Day – Within one to two hours of Beckley are hundreds of day hike trail opportunities. Hikes vary from ridgelines with spectacular views to creek side rambles with waterfalls and wading pools. Tech Adventures staff will choose trails that match the group’s abilities and are appropriate for time and weather conditions. Also on this day students will have an opportunity to contribute to a local community in the Beckley area with a half-day service project. On and off campus projects may include trail clean-up or clearing, house painting or community gardening. Activities may involve using small hand tools and interacting with local residents and community groups.
Day 4 – Rock Climbing Day – Another great adventure resource in the region is the Summit Bechtel Reserve High Adventure camp. On the 12,000 acre site is one of the largest outdoor artificial rock walls in North America. It is a special opportunity for the group to learn how to climb and rappel here for the day.
Day 5 – New River Rafting – West Virginia is known as the whitewater capital of the east and we have some of the best rivers within 30 miles of the WVU Tech campus. Students will experience a day long raft trip down the exciting whitewater of the New River Gorge guided by a local outfitter. Groups will get to test out their teamwork skills learned during the week as they follow their guide’s commands to navigate Class III – IV rapids.
Day 6 – Wrap-Up – Group will reflect on the week behind them and look forward to the Fall semester. After packing up camp group will return to campus for a closing lunch and celebration of their week’s achievements. Program will end at 2 pm on this day.
2016 Program Sessions
Two TOO-Gorge sessions are available this year with a capacity of 15 students each. Sessions run from Sunday morning through Friday afternoon This year’s dates are:
TOO-Gorge Session 1: July 30 – August 4
TOO-Gorge Session 2: August 6 – 11
TOO – Highlands
The TOO-Highlands program is new for 2017. This trip will travel to the Seneca Rocks area of north-central West Virginia (about 4 hours from campus) and enjoy some of the high country adventures of West Virginia’s mountainous spine. Planned activities include hiking, rock climbing, a 3-day backpacking trip and a local service project. Here is a sample agenda (please note that locations, activities and schedule may change due to weather conditions, group needs or other unforeseen circumstances):
Day 1 – Check-In, Meet and Greet – Program check-in begins at 11:30 AM at the Tech Adventures office at 704 South Kanawha Street. Students and their guests will meet university officials, participate in a campus tour and join in a family lunch at WVU Tech’s Beckley campus. After lunch families will depart and there will be a trip briefing and equipment check. Group will pack program vehicles and travel to the Seneca Rocks area and set up their campsite. At camp group will set up tents and kitchen then cook dinner. This camp will be home for the first 3 nights.
Day 2 – Group will travel to nearby Nelson Rocks for a half-day of introductory rock climbing. In the afternoon the group will participate in a local service project. Camping will be at Seneca in the “shadows” of Seneca Rocks.
Day 3 – The group will return to Nelson Rocks to experience the Via Ferrata, a European-inspired ladder and cable bridge climbing route up and around Nelson Rocks. This is rated as o+ne of the top adventure activities in the mid-Atlantic. In the afternoon the group will do a hike and possibly swim in a local river or stream if the weather allows.
Days 4 & 5 – The group will pack-up camp and transition to backpacking mode. Morning will be spent packing packs and distributing group equipment and food. Group will then travel to the trailhead and begin their 3 day on-trail trip. This is a beginner backpacking trip and is a great way to experience West Virginia backcountry. Trails are rugged with some steep sections and water crossings but that is all part of the fun and challenge. Campsites will be primitive with a focus on leaving no trace of your stay and group cooking will be on single burner camp stoves.
Day 6 – Group will hike back to the van and then head back to WVU Tech. Once in Beckley, group will clean-up program equipment and debrief the adventure. The program will wrap-up around 4pm for you to depart for home.
Only one session of TOO-Highlands us available this year with a 10 participant limit:
TOO-Highlands Session 1: July 9 – 14
TOO-Gorge or TOO-Highlands?
Both programs offer a great place to start on your WVU Tech adventure. The TOO-Highlands program is a bit more demanding physically than the TOO-Gorge program. This is due in part to the rugged terrain of the program sites but also the added 3-day backpacking trip. Both trips are great for beginner adventurers but the TOO-Gorge is a better choice if you are brand new to camping and outdoor activities. Please call the office (304-929-0327) if you need assistance selecting the program that is the best match for you.
The Tech Outdoor Orientation is designed for students who are in transition to college for the first time or early in their college career. To qualify for the program each applicant must meet the following eligibility criteria:
The 2017 Tech Outdoor Orientation program is open to new students and transfer students with less than 12 college credits from other institutions who have been admitted to WVU Tech. Student status will be confirmed by Tech Adventures prior to assigning a student to an orientation session. To participate on a TOO program students must be enrolled in at least 9 credits at WVU Tech for the Fall Semester no later than 14 days prior to your TOO trip date. Students who are not enrolled in fall classes will be sent an email notification and dropped from the TOO program without refund.
All of the activities included in the Tech Outdoor Orientation program are designed to be accessible to beginner participants with no previous outdoor experience. Activities do require basic physical and cognitive abilities in order to maximize individual and group safety, minimize injury potential and help everyone have an enjoyable time. Please review our Essential Eligibility Criteria document prior to registration to ensure this program is a match for you. If you have any questions about these requirements or your ability to meet one or more elements please contact the Tech Adventures office to discuss with our staff, 304-929-0327, TechAdventures@mail.wvu.edu.
Health Insurance Requirement
While Tech Adventures has made its best efforts to minimize the chance of injury to Tech Outdoor Orientation participants, injuries and illness can occur. Tech Outdoor Orientation program participants will be required to provide proof of insurance as part of the program registration package so in the case of an injury or illness during the program our staff can help the student get the care needed at a local medical facility.
All domestic students at WVU Tech, enrolled in 6 or more credit hours, and international students enrolled in 1 or more credit hours, are required to carry health insurance coverage. Students who do not have personal or family health insurance are automatically enrolled in the WVU-sponsored Aetna student health insurance plan.
Costs and Cancellation Policy
To celebrate WVU Tech’s official move to Beckley the 2017 Tech Outdoor Orientation program is being offered at a subsidized cost of $100.
This fee will be charged to your student account once we have confirmed your registration. The fee is not eligible to be paid with Federal Student Aid and must be paid with your July tuition bill.
As the program includes all food, camping, equipment, transportation and guide services for 6 days this represents a substantial investment in our participants and our belief that this program will contribute to their success at Tech. As we expect a high demand for the limited spaces in the program late cancellations can reduce opportunities for other students to participate. Therefore, registered orientation program participants who cancel with less than 10 business day notification or who do not show up at the start of their program will be assessed a $50 cancellation fee. This fee will be charged to the student’s account.
We don’t want the $100 fee to make this program inaccessible to any student. If you are Pell Eligible for student financial aid you may apply for a scholarship to cover the program cost. Funds are limited so please apply early. Scholarships will be applied after completion of the program. Please note that if you cancel for the program with less than 10 business day’s notification or do not show up for the trip you will be charged the $50 cancellation fee and forfeit the scholarship.
Registration for the summer 2017 Tech Outdoor Orientation program will open on March 15th. To request a spot on one of our programs please return to this site on or after the 15th to complete the online Registration Form. A member of the Tech Adventures staff will verify your program eligibility and space availability for your selected session and then contact you by email to your MIX account to confirm your registration. Upon receiving your confirmation you will have 14 days to complete and return the registration packet materials. If your packet is not received within the 14 days your registration will be cancelled and offered to another interested student. Enrollment is on a first-come-first-served basis so apply early.
Registration runs from March 15th through June 24th.