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Mission Statement

The mission of Wilderness Based Orientation (WBO) is to enhance student success while transitioning into college. We do this by engaging students in the intensive social, physical and educational atmosphere of a structured wilderness expedition. During these expeditions, WBO aims to develop the strength and quality of character necessary for collegiate success. These qualities include tenacity, honesty, craftsmanship, compassion, intrinsic motivation and leadership. Through WBO, we attempt to shape the culture of the freshman class by exposing students to the values held by Western Colorado University. These values include learning, critical thinking, knowledge, education, leadership, fun, service to others, community, citizenry, environmental stewardship and healthy lifestyles.

Standard of Excellence & Safety

WBO has established a standard of excellence for program quality and safety that is among the highest in the industry. WBO is directed by Christie Hicks, a full time professional administrator specializing in wilderness adventure programming.

Studies have shown that students who participate in adventure orientation programs as they enter college retain at a higher level, have less difficulty during their first year of school, have a higher GPA, and ultimately are more likely to graduate. All WBO courses are led by Western student instructors. Many are alumni of WBO and all are ready to make the WBO experience an exceptional one. Studies have also shown that new students who are able to connect with an upperclassman or staff/faculty also retain at a higher level. WBO provides a wonderful opportunity for your new student to build a relationship with and be mentored by our WBO student instructors.

Your student can expect to have fun, make new and lasting friendships, and experience adventure as they get to know their new home here in the Gunnison Valley. They will learn about Western and a great deal about themselves. Many students who meet on a WBO course are still close friends on graduation day. A small investment in allowing your student to attend WBO will make the most of your larger investment in their college education, and most importantly in them as a person. Western has scholarships available to students that desire to attend a WBO course.

Please see frequently asked questions to find out how to get involved and learn difficulty levels of our courses. Please peruse our website to learn more about WBO course offerings. Feel free to contact us anytime with further questions.

Thank you for your interest in WBO!

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Visit Western

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Alumni Community

Alumni Community

We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.