The Wilderness Project was founded on the philosophy that
the natural environment provides a neutral space for facilitating
life's transitions, for promoting personal growth, and for
discussing pressing social issues. Outside the context of everyday
routines, students gain a powerful perspective on their lives,
their communities, and how they fit into a global perspective. The
project is designed to challenge the participants to be effective
socially and environmentally conscious leaders.
What is the Wilderness Project?
The Wilderness Project (WP) is a Pre-Orientation program at Washington
University in St. Louis that offers new students experiences that will last a
lifetime! This program was founded in 2003 by a group of like-minded students
in the pursuit of providing an outlet through which incoming students could
engage in the outdoors prior to entering the academic and social climate of
collegiate life. Annually, the program culminates in a weeklong trip outside
for incoming freshmen, with student leaders facilitating both hiking and rock-climbing.
The Wilderness Project continues to be the only student-run Pre-Orientation program at
Wash. U. and the only student-run outdoor Pre-Orientation program in the country.
After many intensive skill training sessions with medical professionals, students
are more than prepared to completely explore the great outdoors!
to being crazy-fun outdoors, WP has an emphasis on social and
environmental justice. We find the backcountry to be a socially
neutral space to discuss issues which inform our experiences and
identities in school and throughout our lives. In the wilderness we may openly
discuss issues such as class, gender, race, religion, and sexuality.
As one former WP leader commented, "the trees don't judge you." WP
challenges incoming students to become responsible and ethical
leaders through all their endeavors. Through these dialogues, the
trail groups develop strong connections, learning and growing with each other.
As believers in environmental sustainability, WP adheres to
internationally established Leave No Trace (tm) principles to
protect the wilderness for future generations.
What we promote...
A smooth transition to college by
forming an open community.
Responsible leadership skills.
Commitment to environmental ethics.
Awareness and discussion of social and
environmental justice issues.
come kick it with us in the woods! Explore the outdoors while making
new friends and gaining leadership skills as you begin your life at
Washington University in St. Louis.