Freshman get a breath of fresh air

Have you ever wished that you had the opportunity to make friends prior to moving to Sonoma State University? That wish became a reality for three groups of freshman who took on this opportunity Aug. 10 to Aug. 16 by signing up for the Wilderness Welcome Program. 

There were three different excursions to choose from, including Bay Area Backpackin’, Tahoe Trek ‘n Climb and Point Reyes Paradise. These trips provided a chance to explore the great outdoors while making new friends prior to starting school. 

As most of us can recall, the transition into college life is a crazy time. It is more likely that one may not know many, if any, people at your new school. 

Having the opportunity to meet other students who feel the same way that you do, before even starting school, is an experience most people do not get to have.

 However, the outgoing freshman that signed up for the Wilderness Welcome Program became fortunate enough to be able to gain these experiences, friendships and memories prior to beginning their journey at Sonoma State University.

The Bay Area Backpackin’ trip gave students the chance to explore San Francisco from the city to the wilderness. They learned to safely use Bay Area transit, explore Angel Island, hike Mt. Tamalpais, walk through Embarcadero and so much more.

On the Tahoe Trek ‘n Climb trip, students got to rock climb the Sierra Nevada’s, sleep amongst the stars, take a dip in the deep blue water and make memories in one of the more beautiful places California has to offer. 

Lastly, on the Point Reyes Paradise trip, students got to backpack Pt. Reyes and kayak through Tomales Bay, giving them the chance to see all of what the area had to offer. All three of these trips, prices averaging around $400, gave freshman greater knowledge on what the area around Sonoma State truly has to explore. 

Each trip was designed to have an emphasis on healthy living. They ate organic-vegetarian food and learned more about how to live a healthy lifestyle. Sophia Larson, an upperclassman at SSU, had the opportunity to oversee the Bay Area Backpackin’ trip.

“The trip really gave a chance for students to open up about real life experiences and share this opportunity with peers,” said Sophia on her wilderness experience. Having created a memory like this one establishes a bond that not all friendships get to have.

“Going into college your freshman year already having this bond with people is bound to put you more at ease when moving on campus,” said Larson. 

These trips both started and ended at the SSU Rec Center. On the first night, each student got to climb the indoor rock wall and begin to get to know his or her fellow peers who were also taking part in this weeklong journey throughout Northern California. 

The trip ended on the morning on Aug. 16, which was the day that freshman were able to move into their dorms. This meant that the Wilderness Welcome Program leaders were then able to help the freshman move their personal belongings into their dorms. This gave them the chance to have upperclassmen give them even greater advice on their freshman year of college, as well as have a familiar face around them on the first day.

The lessons learned, memories made and adventures taken while on any of these three trips gave incoming freshman a greater sense of comfort before moving away from home to a college campus. 

They were able to explore the great outdoors in ways they may not have before, make connections and friendships they may not have made otherwise and overall were welcomed with open arms to the wonderful Seawolf experience that is Sonoma State University.