AURORA

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 five unique programs — ORION, POLARIS, RIGEL, 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 five life-changing AURORA experiences will you choose?

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Learn more about the AURORA programs:

ORION

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. One session is 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.

POLARIS

POLARIS North Woods Wilderness
POLARIS (KINES 089 — Student Wilderness Experience) is for first-year students coming to University Park campus, and takes place in the north woods of New England, where challenging terrain will offer both rewarding beauty and new friendships. Students will meet their group leaders at the Manchester, New Hampshire airport (MHT), where they will embark on five days of hiking through the White Mountains. This trip culminates with a day of adventure at Hulbert Outdoor Center.

RIGEL

RIGEL Wilderness Orientation Experience for Transfer Students
RIGEL is the AURORA program for transfer students coming to Penn State. It is modeled after the award-winning ORION outdoor orientation program. Participants spend five days in the scenic woods of central Pennsylvania, learning about life at Penn State, working with others, about yourself, and more!

URSA

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

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 five days of a coastal or mountain wilderness expedition. This trip culminates with a day of sea kayaking.

AURORA contact information:

Jen Bean
Director of AURORA
Email: jbean@psu.edu

Drew Lehnerd
Assistant Director of AURORA
Email: dlehnerd@psu.edu

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."
— AURORA Leader

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