WVU Tech’s Outdoor Orientation trips are week-long, adventure-based trips that prepare incoming WVU Tech students for life at Tech and in the Beckley, West Virginia region. Trips offer participants diverse experiences and opportunities to learn about themselves, their classmates, WVU Tech and the region.
This is the second year for the TOO program at WVU Tech. The design for the program is patterned after the very successful Adventure WV orientation trips which have operated at the main WVU campus for several years. These programs have shown great success in improving connections between students and with the University. Participants in outdoor orientation programs at WVU and across the country have shown increased self-confidence, better grades and improved graduation rates than peers who do not go on these trips. These are optional, pre-orientation trips and are not a substitute for the on-campus first-year student orientation programs offered prior to classes.
The current $100 trip cost is subsidized by WVU Tech to encourage participation. To make this opportunity available to all students, scholarships to cover this fee are also available on a limited basis for Pell-Eligible students. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis with limited space available.Program Details:
- Optional pre-orientation program for incoming WVU Tech freshmen
- Group sizes between 10 and 15 students
- 6-days of camping and day-trip adventures to regional destinations
- Introduce students to peers, WVU Tech and the Beckley region
- Evening discussions and activities to assist students with transition to college
- Use novel and challenging environments to facilitate development of meaningful relationships and a sense of community
Frequently Asked Questions – Index
- How many people are on each program?
- When and where do I need to show up for my program?
- How do you recommend I get to and from Beckley? Is there somewhere to stay if I arrive early?
- What does my student status need to be in order to participate in the Tech Outdoor Orientation Program?
- When can I register?
- How do I register for programs?
- How much does the program cost?
- How does Tech Adventures communicate with me?
- What if I change my mind or cannot attend the Tech Outdoor Orientation for other reasons?
- Are there any items that are prohibited on Orientation Programs?
- Why can’t I bring my cell phone or MP3 player?
- Do I need to provide my own meals?
- What are we going to be eating?
- I’m a vegetarian. Is that a problem?
- I have food allergies. Is that a problem?
- I have another dietary restriction. Is that a problem?
- If I have had previous or have current health conditions, who do I contact if I have concerns or questions before I register?
- There are going to be bathrooms and showers, right?
- Do I need to bring a First Aid Kit?
- What if I take prescription medication?
- What if I use contacts?
- I’ve never been camping, been hiking, been on a challenge course, been rock climbing, been whitewater rafting …etc. before. Is that a problem?
- Is there anything I should do to prepare for the program?
- Do I need to provide my own outdoor equipment for the program?
- I already paddle or rock climb can I bring my own equipment?
- Can I bring my GoPro or other camera on the trip?
- Where can I get the clothing and equipment I need?
How many people are on each program?
Group sizes are between 10 and 15 students, depending on enrollment.
When and where do I need to show up for my program?
Program check-in begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Tech Adventures headquarters at 704 South Kanawha Street in Beckley. Parking is available adjacent to the Life Sciences Building (see map). Please see your program itinerary for your specific starting and end dates.
How do you recommend I get to and from Beckley? Is there somewhere to stay if I arrive early?
See the Travel and Lodging FAQ.
What does my student status need to be in order to participate in the Tech Outdoor Orientation Program?
The Tech Outdoor Orientation Program is designed for first-year students who have been accepted for fall enrollment and are registered as full-time students (9 credits or more) for the Fall 2017 semester. Students must have previously been accepted into the University and have fewer than 12 credits from another institution if a transfer student.
Registration and Communications
When can I register?
Registration is open from March 15 though June 24.
How do I register for programs?
Register online here (registration begins March 15). Programs are first-come, first-served. You must have your WVU Tech ID # and password available to register (this number will be listed in your WVU Tech acceptance letter). Once your online registration is completed, you will download a packet containing enclosures that must be filled out and returned within 14 days of registering online.
How much does the program cost?
For 2017 the program fee for either the TOO-Gorge or TOO-Highlands program is $100. This fee includes all equipment, transportation, lodging, food and guide services for six days. The fee will be charged to your student account at the beginning of July. Scholarships for Pell-Eligible students to cover the $100 fee are available on a limited basis. Scholarship applications will be included in the registration packet. Students will be notified if they have been awarded a scholarship prior to confirming their program registration.
How does Tech Adventures communicate with me?
Tech Adventures will contact you using your WVU Tech MIX email account and/or phone number provided on your registration student information form. You MUST check your MIX account! If you have questions about accessing or using your MIX account, please contact the WVU Help Desk at 877.327.9260 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I change my mind or cannot attend the Tech Outdoor Orientation for other reasons?
Space is limited for this program and is generally in high demand. If you cannot attend for any reason, please let us know as early as possible by phone at 304.929.0327 or by email at TechAdventures@mail.wvu.edu so we can offer your spot to another student. If you do not show up for the program or fail to notify our office that you will not be attending within 10 business days of the start of the program, a $50 cancellation fee will be charged to your student account. Students who have been granted a scholarship who cancel with less than 10 business days notice will forfeit their scholarship and will be charged the $50 cancellation fee.
Rules & Expectations
Are there any items that are prohibited on Orientation Programs?
Yes. Orientation programs are drug, alcohol and tobacco-free environments. We also do not allow cell phones or personal MP3 devices (more on that below). Generally, you should not bring anything not included on the Equipment List (Gorge list, Highlands list). It is useful to have a small pocket-knife (2-inch blade or smaller), but otherwise no weapons should accompany the program. Any students in violation of these rules may be removed from the program with no refund and are subject to university sanctions.
Why can’t I bring my cell phone or MP3 player?
Chances are your phone won’t work where we are going and your battery will definitely die, so bringing a phone is impractical.
More importantly, cell phones and MP3 players detract from the group experience. One of our program goals is to get to know each other well and to share a challenging and rewarding group experience together. It’s very difficult to be fully focused on the experience at hand when you’re distracted by your phone or checked out into your music. We’ve found these devices really do take away from the shared group experience. Furthermore, even though leaving your phone for a few days may seem daunting, most people find they really enjoy being “disconnected” for the duration of the program. It’s an experience we rarely get!
If you need to bring your phone or MP3 player to check-in; we will provide a locked space to store it for the duration of your program.
Do I need to provide my own meals?
No. All meals and snacks will be provided as soon as your program begins.
What are we going to be eating?
Lots of great and healthy food! We are always busy on our programs and expending a lot of energy. Your specific menu will vary by program type. Some typical meals are:
Breakfasts: Pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, eggs, bagels
Lunch: Sandwiches and wraps
Dinner: Pasta, stir fry, quesadillas, burritos, cookout food
Snacks: Crackers, cookies, fruit, veggies, trail mix, trail bars
Beverages: Hot chocolate, coffee, lemonade, water
I’m a vegetarian. Is that a problem?
No. Most meals are vegetarian friendly and we have alternatives for those meals which are not. Please indicate that you are a vegetarian on your Participant Information Form so we can plan accordingly.
I have food allergies. Is that a problem?
No. Please be sure to include information about your allergies on your Participant Information Form. If you think additional information is relevant, please get in touch with us. We may also contact you to gain more information. We can plan a menu around most food allergies. During the trip, please ask about food contents if you are unsure that they might contain items you are allergic to.
I have another dietary restriction. Is that a problem?
No. As long as you let us know what your restrictions are, we will almost always be able to accommodate them. Don’t hesitate to be in touch with us if your dietary restrictions may need an explanation. We may also follow up with you. We have accommodated many diets in the past, including Kosher, Halal, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, along with having accommodated a wide range of food allergies.
Hygiene and Health
If I have had previous or have current health conditions, who do I contact if I have concerns or questions before I register?
If you have any health concerns or conditions, it is extremely important you contact the Tech Adventures Office at 304.929.0327 before your register. In many cases, our programs take place in areas that are not in the immediate proximity of a hospital or medical facility. Our staff are trained in first aid and emergency management. Please call us if you have concerns about being more than an hour from advanced medical care.
There are going to be bathrooms and showers, right?
This depends on which program you choose. Our TOO-Gorge programs are all based at public campgrounds. Campgrounds have shared public bathrooms with flush toilets, running water and showers. During day trips, access to bathroom facilities is limited, but this does NOT mean we’ll totally abandon sanitation! Your leaders will teach you how to use the bathroom outside, how to clean your hands, and how to stay (relatively) clean.
The TOO-Highland has three days at a public campground with a public bath house. These facilities will be less available during the day. Also during the three-day backpacking trip you will be utilizing Leave-No-Trace human waste disposal procedures that your trip leaders will review. Hygiene, including frequent hand washing, is critical on all trip segments in order to protect participant health.
Do I need to bring a First Aid Kit?
No. We bring a well-stocked First Aid Kit.
What if I take prescription medication?
Please be sure to take them with you, take them as prescribed and keep them accessible. Take special care to bring and keep accessible epi-pens and/or asthma rescue inhalers if you have had these prescribed to you for any reason. Also, be sure you have noted these medications on your Participant Information Form. If you get new medication after filling out and sending in your form, please let us know.
What if I use contacts?
You can definitely bring and use contacts while on your orientation trip. Be sure to bring 1-2 extra pairs, plenty of solution (usually a 4oz travel size is sufficient), Definitely bring your glasses as a back-up. Some people like to bring a travel-size mirror as well.
Preparing for your Tech Adventures Orientation Program
I’ve never been camping, been hiking, been on a challenge course, been rock climbing, been whitewater rafting…etc. before. Is that a problem?
No! Our programs are designed for beginners. We do not expect you to have experience or be proficient in anything we do. Your leaders will teach you what you need to know for your program. You should anticipate the experience will be a genuine challenge, along with being a wonderful, fun and valuable experience.
While Tech Adventures makes every effort to include participants of all ability levels, safe participation in planned activities does require certain physical and cognitive abilities. Please review our Essential Eligibility Criteria document to learn what will be required of you. If you have any questions regarding meeting these eligibility criteria, please contact the Tech Adventures office at TechAdventures@mail.wvu.edu or by phone at 304.929.0327.
Is there anything I should do to prepare for the program?
Doing some type of regular exercise may help you feel more comfortable with the activities on the trips. But really, the only thing you need to do is get excited!
Do I need to provide my own outdoor equipment for the program?
All technical equipment for adventure activities and camping equipment are provided for program participants. Participants are required to bring personal clothing, toiletries, towels and a few basic equipment items. For a full list of what you are responsible for review the packing list associated with your selected program:
If I already paddle or rock climb can I bring my own equipment?
For whitewater paddling on the TOO-Gorge program we will be going with a commercial outfitter and are required to use their equipment. For rock climbing, please feel free to bring your own climbing shoes and chalk bag if you have them. All participants will be required to use program helmets, harnesses, ropes and climbing hardware during this portion of the program.
Can I bring my GoPro or other camera on the trip?
Participants may bring cameras and GoPros on the trip as long as they do not create a distraction or hazardous situation for participants. Please do not bring selfie sticks. Also, access to electricity for charging is limited, so insure that you have adequate batteries. Photographers may join portions of the trip and students can receive copies of any images taken.
Where can I get the clothing and equipment I need?
Other than footwear and some limited personal clothing and equipment (see Orientation Program Packing Lists for the Gorge and Highlands programs), most items for your trip are provided by Tech Adventures. If you need to purchase any of these items, here are some source options:
NOTE: The following list is merely a resource. WVU Tech does not endorse any business or organization included in this resource list.
In the Beckley Area:
4301 Robert C. Byrd Dr. Beckley, WV 25801
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Crossroads Mall, 5475 Robert C. Byrd Drive, Unit 6, Mt. Hope, WV 25880 US
ACE Adventure Gear
851 Fayette Station Road, Fayetteville, WV 25840
Many locations also have privately owned outdoor stores.
Basic sporting goods stores (Dick’s, Sports Authority, etc.) can be resources for basic synthetic shorts, t-shirts, pants, long sleeved layers, jackets, hats and underwear. There is no need to buy pricey “outdoor-specific” basic clothing items; any synthetic/non-cotton sportswear will work just fine, as long as you don’t mind getting it dirty!
There are many online outdoor retailers as well. We do not recommend buying boots online, as fit is very important. Other clothes and gear may be easily purchased online at sites such as:
Second Hand/Discount Equipment Stores
Finally, don’t overlook your local Goodwill, Gabriel Brothers or other thrift/second-hand stores. If you dig a little, you can often find sports and synthetic clothing at discounted prices. Some outdoor enthusiasts also purchase second-hand equipment on eBay, but you need to be careful as most items cannot be returned and it is difficult to guess sizing.
As with everything, do not hesitate to contact us if you’re having trouble finding something or if you have any questions: TechAdventures@mail.wvu.edu or call 304.929.0327.