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Press Releases

Friday, August 1, 2003

New Student Experience Program Teaches Leadership

SALISBURY, MD---Students entering Salisbury University this fall are getting a jump on learning about their classmates and themselves during a series of four adventures offered this summer through SU’s New Student Experience Program.

“The thrill of being accepted to college is quickly followed by anxiety about how successful the new student will be,” said Dr. Carol Williamson, vice president for student affairs. “Many students describe the New Student Experience as the most important key to their student success.”

Lawanda Dockins-Gordy, SU’s New Student Experience director, agreed.

"Our New Student Experience Programs, whether cycling in Maine, canoeing in Canada or building a house with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, provide excellent transition opportunities for new students to college life," she said.

The first trip, geared for potential student leaders, had them searching for creative solutions to “challenges by choice” while confronting activities such as a high-ropes challenge and whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.

During the next trip, new students paddled, hiked and climbed their way through West Virginia’s New River Gorge and the Gauley River while discussing the transition to college life.

From Saturday, August 2-Tuesday, Aug. 12, new students bond with future classmates, faculty and staff while cycling in Maine’s Arcadia National Park. They also learn about campus life and academics while bicycling, whale-watching, kayaking and visiting Walden Pond, made famous by author Henry David Thoreau.

During the final out-of-state challenge, Saturday, August 17-Friday, August 29, students take on a rugged canoeing and hiking marathon in the lakes region of Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. While observing wildlife and the Northern Lights in the evening, they talk about what they can expect as SU students.

SU has been a national leader in such outdoor programs, which have now spread across the United States.

Other student orientation programs continue once classes start in September. The Bellavance Honors Program holds orientation with camping on the beach, a ropes course and discussion. Others include experiences in service learning and diversity; orientation for commuters; life skills for student athletes; cultural appreciation; and volunteerism through Habitat for Humanity.

“These provide students an opportunity to learn important academic skills, become aware of campus services and organizations, and make friends," Dockins-Gordy said.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at

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