Calling All Incoming Penn State Students!

Penn State Outdoor Aurora programs logo

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.


AURORA contact information:

Jen Bean
Director of AURORA

Tammi Richard
Staff Assistant

Shaver's Creek Environmental Center

The Pennsylvania State University

Phone: 814-863-2000
Fax: 814-865-2706

"AURORA is more than an orientation experience—it is a journey that will reward you with great friends, amazing memories, and the confidence that you can do more than you ever imagined."
—2012 AURORA Leader

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