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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?


Learn more about the 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.

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

POLARIS and RIGEL info coming soon!

AURORA contact information:

Jen Bean
Director of AURORA

Drew Lehnerd
Assistant Director of AURORA

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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