Parent's Page

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 State College.  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. For eleven consecutive years we have offered 'high-end' programs similar to those offered by leaders in the field such as the National Outdoor Leadership School and Outward Bound. WBO is directed by Janna Hansen, 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 highly trained Western State College student instructors. Many are alumnus 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 son or daughter 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.  I see many students who met on a WBO course that are still close friends on graduation day.  A small investment in allowing your son or daughter to attend WBO will make the most of your larger investment in their college education, and most importantly in them as a person. Western State College has scholarships available to students that desire to attend a WBO course.

Please see frequently asked questions to find out about our safety record, how to get involved, and difficulty level 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!

Christie Hicks

WBO Program Director
(970) 943-7051
chicks@western.edu 
Monday- Friday 9:00-5:00 MST