The word aurora refers to the dawn, as well as to the natural electrical phenomena of colorful streams of light in the night sky — usually near the magnetic poles. Similarly, AURORA Penn State Outdoor Orientation Programs offer a powerful start to a student’s Penn State experience. These three unique programs — ORION, URSA, and VEGA — offer first-year students a distinctive entrance into Penn State life — forging friendships and unforgettable adventures to carry with them always. Which of the three life-changing AURORA experiences will you choose?
Learn more about the three AURORA programs
ORION Wilderness Experience
ORION (KINES 089 — Student Wilderness Experience) is our longest-running program of 19 years and is based at Penn State’s University Park campus. Two sessions are available for first-year students coming to University Park campus, and one summer session is available for incoming students admitted to all other Penn State campuses. Students go on a hiking adventure on central Pennsylvania trails for five days. Students in ORION LEAP and ORION for Penn State campuses other than University Park will have an additional day canoeing on a local river or time spent on Penn State’s high-ropes course.
URSA Urban Service Experience
URSA (RPTM 297C — Urban Service Experience) is for first-year students coming to University Park campus. Participants spend five days and four nights in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, lending a hand at a number of different service projects during the day — and embracing the culture of Philadelphia life in the evenings.
VEGA West Coast Wilderness
VEGA (KINES 089 — Student Wilderness Experience) is for first-year students coming to University Park campus, and takes place in Olympic National Park, Washington. Students will meet their group leaders at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where they will embark on six days and five nights of a coastal wilderness expedition. This trip culminates with a day of sea kayaking in the morning and mountain biking in the afternoon.