Freshmen tackle challenges and new adventures

Sept. 9, 2010 5:30 p.m.
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BT/BY index prof Kasdin

Outdoor Action photos by Brian Wilson

Nearly 800 members of Princeton's newest undergraduate class are preparing for the start of their freshman year by confronting physical challenges and forging bonds with their classmates through the Outdoor Action pre-orientation program.

BT/BY Hyunjean Kim and Diane Jeon

Diane Jeon (left) congratulates classmate Hyunjean Kim after a climb.

Outdoor Action is the University's oldest and largest pre-orientation program. This year's program has the highest enrollment in its 37-year history, with 796 students -- roughly 60 percent of the class of 2014 -- participating. From Sept. 5-10, the Outdoor Action groups are engaged in experiential learning activities at sites in Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and New England. Among other excursions, the group is visiting the Princeton-Blairstown Center, a 275-acre camp in northwest New Jersey, hiking in the Delaware Water Gap and taking sustainable farming trips near Princeton.

Freshman Dillon Sharp, who joined his classmates for rock climbing, hiking and other activities along the Appalachian Trail in northwest New Jersey, said, "You get to know people really well when you are together for days, and trying to avoid rainstorms and rattlesnakes makes for a really close bond."

At the same time, an additional 145 freshmen are participating in Community Action, which sponsors volunteer service projects in Princeton, Trenton and Philadelphia. Students are working with community organizations focused on the arts, health, environmental awareness, housing, hunger relief and education.

In late August, a group of 20 students who were selected for the second year of Princeton's Bridge Year Program gathered on campus for an orientation program before heading to their destinations in Ghana, India, Peru and Serbia. The Bridge Year Program enables students to defer the start of their freshman year to spend a tuition-free enrichment period abroad focused on public service.

The rest of the class of 2014 will arrive on campus to begin an orientation program on Saturday, Sept. 11. Among the first activities for the freshmen is Opening Exercises at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, in the University Chapel. Classes begin Thursday, Sept. 16.

Below are additional photos from the students' Outdoor Action and Bridge Year Program orientation activities.

Outdoor Action: Students forge bonds

BT/BY group - rock climbing

A day of rock climbing is designed to help the incoming freshmen learn teamwork and build connections with their classmates.

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Freshman Dillon Sharp scales a rock along the Appalachian Trail.

BT/BY group - trail repair

An Outdoor Action group relaxes on a foot bridge at the Princeton-Blairstown Center, where they spent the day completing a service project.

BT/BY Bonnie Rogers

Outdoor Action leader Bonnie Rogers (front left), a sophomore, returns to the Princeton-Blairstown Center from a hike with her group members, freshmen Miranda Kalvaria (front right), Joseph Labatt (background, in blue) and Gideon Grossman (background, in green).


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After a long day in the woods, campers rest lakeside at the Princeton-Blairstown Center.

Bridge Year Program: Students connect before traveling the world

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During the Bridge Year Program orientation session on goal setting and teamwork, students take part in a group activity on collaboration and group trust. (Bridge Year photos courtesy of Stephanie Kraemer)


BT/BY bridge group Eleanor Roberts

From left, Bridge Year Program students Brett Diehl, Divya Farias, Eleanor Roberts, and Rachel Parks focus on communication and overcoming obstacles through an exercise in which they must use wooden planks to move across the room without touching the floor.


BT/BY bridge Divya Farias

Farias, who will spend the next year in Peru, participates in an orientation exercise called "Lifelines," in which students list events, people, books or other influences in their lives.