Oredigger Camp: A new first-year tradition at Mines

by | Oct 3, 2017 | Fall 2017, Inside Mines | 0 comments

The start of your first year of college can be daunting—it’s a new environment full of new experiences, new expectations, new people and, for most freshmen, even a new bed. But this year, a group of incoming students have a leg up over freshmen of years past, thanks to the inaugural Oredigger Camp.

A few weeks before the start of classes, more than 200 first-year students spent 2 ½ days up at Camp Como near Fairplay, Colo., having fun, making friends and getting introduced to being an Oredigger. The impact was clear well before the last group of students loaded onto the bus back to Golden.

“It made me less nervous about going to school in general,” said Liz Luce, a freshman from Colorado Springs planning to study chemical and biological engineering.

“Getting to know people beforehand is great,” added Maddie McKowen, a freshman from Houston looking to study environmental engineering—and play club lacrosse along with her new friend Luce. “At least you can have some bonds before you get there.”

Arriving at Oredigger Camp shortly before lunchtime, students spent most of Day 1 tackling team-building activities—low ropes, tug-of-war and more. Day 2 started bright and early with self-reflection and goal setting. Later, during free time, students soared through the mountain air on zip lines while others jumped in on pickup games of volleyball, 9 Square and Gaga Ball.

Engineering challenges got students thinking and working together. In one task, small groups built a basket out of plastic drinking straws and tape that could protect an egg when dropped from the top of a ladder. In another, larger groups were handed three rolls of duct tape and the challenge of taping someone to the wall. The group whose student stayed stuck the longest won.

Moving forward, Oredigger Camp has the potential to be something just as important to the Mines experience as the M Climb, said Dan Fox, vice president of student life. Fox said: “That’s where I want Oredigger Camp to go, not just as a tradition but as something that makes a big difference and something they’ll never forget.”