Frequently Asked Questions
Who can go on Summit Widener?
The trip is intended for full-time day undergraduate freshman and sophomore new students. New student means the semester before or during Summit Widener is their first at Widener University. Students attending typically have between 0 - 27 credits. Freshman students account for the majority of participants, and transfer students matching the criteria are encouraged. Participants come from all majors and have residence status of commuters and on-campus residents.
One of our leaders, Justin went on Summit Widener as a transfer new student. See Justin talking about Summit Widener in our video.
What if I don't know anyone before going on the trip?
Summit Widener provides the perfect setting for new students to make new friends. Each year, students reflect on the friendships made with other new students and upperclassmen on the trip. They tell us they made more firends than they expected once school started, because they met the friends other Summit Widener participants made once school started.
Where will we be going?
We typically thru hike some of the the Appalachian Trail (AT) in Pennsylvania. Distance covered depends on weather, terrain, and what each group wants to accomplish. (Note: Inclement weather or trail conditions can cause changes in the trips duration or location.)
Are there photos and video from previous trips?
The photos at the top of the Summit Widener web pages are from previous Summit Widener trips. Our video was taken along the AT..
Does the trip take the place of New Student Orientation/Pride Experience II?
No. Summit Widener occurs the five days before the required Widener University New Student Orientation.
Can I still go on the trip if I have never been hiking or camping before?
Yes. You do not need prior hiking or camping experience to participate in Summit Widener. The leaders will teach you all of the skills necessary.
Past participants tell us about the self-confidence they gained from making new connections and accomplishing a challenge in a team environment. Participants have said this confidence carrier throughout their freshman year, and for many the friendships last beyond WU graduation.
How do I register and know if I am accepted?
First, register now by completing the Widener Pre-Orientation Application and select Summit Widener. We will confirm your registration and send a health form. Once all completed forms are received and reviewed by appropriate Student Affairs staff members, participants will be forwarded a final confirmation and a pack list via CampusCruiser email.
Note: Participants must confirm their attendance within five business days of being sent the response email. After five business days, the space will be offered to someone else.
How strenuous is the trip?
The physical effort required according to terrain is primarily moderate with short distances that require strenuous effort.
Moderate effort is due to:
- Elevation gain or loss of up to 1000 feet;
- Narrow and rocky pathways; and
- Obstacles (e.g., brook crossings with no bridge).
Strenuous effort is due to:
- Elevation gain or loss of more than 1000 feet;
- Steep ups and downs;
- Difficult, challenging paths across rocky terrain; and
- Numerous obstacles.
Everything is doable! Leaders and participants work together, making sure everyone gets to where they are going safely and together. All participants of Summit Widener are expected to carry a backpack with their own supplies and a portion of the group's food and gear. Sleeping consists of camping outside in tents regardless of weather.
What equipment do I need?
Once a student has been fully accepted, we will forward a pack list to the student one month prior to the trip. We maintain an inventory of tents, sleeping pads, backpacks, cooking supplies, etc. Personal clothing, footwear, sleeping bags and snack food are about all participants need to bring. Our trip will include meals on the trail. If a participant does not have a sleeping bag, one can be rented through a vendor.
Is there a faculty member on the trip?
Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC) student leaders lead this trip. Many of the OAC student leaders are Wilderness First Aid (WFA) trained to manage incidents until professional help arrives. OAC leaders organize detailed logistics plans for every trip which includes risk management.
In addition, Michael Lombardo, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and OAC advisor, will be in the vicinity with access to a university vehicle. Also, Professor Gordon Henderson, also WFA certified, typically participates in Summit Widener to hike and talk with the students.
What does this trip accomplish?
Students will gain experience about the university's environment and learn what to expect from life at Widener with 30 like-minded peers and 10 upperclassmen to answer their questions.
- Have fun;
- Make friends with peers, including upperclass students;
- Develop outdoor and leadership skills; and
- Learn the importance of teamwork while developing self-confidence.
Outdoor Adventure Club leaders guide students on more than a multi-day backpacking trip. Their approach leads to new friendships and skills to succeed in the challenges of starting college. They aim to help new students overcome the typical fears related to a new university while having a great time in the outdoors.
When do I leave?
Resident students will have time to move into their on-campus rooms during Friday. Late Friday afternoon, all participants come together to begin the process of preparing for the trip and to have dinner. All participants must attend. During this time students will get to know each other, receive the necessary gear, and learn how to pack. Departure from campus will be between 6:30 - 8:00 AM, Saturday. Leaders will clariify the time Friday night.
When do I return?
Summit Widener returns to campus between 5:00 and 8:00 PM, Tuesday. No orientation sessions or classes are held on this day. All new students will participate in the orientation which begins Wednesday afternoon.
What is the minimum number of students needed to make this trip happen?
Fifteen. With the interest we are receiving, this will not be a problem.
How do I get Physical Education credit for Summit Widener?
The successful completion of two semesters of physical education is a requirement for graduation. For details about graduation information and the exemption from Physical Education, please refer to the current Widener University Undergraduate Catalog.
If a student is exempt from this requirement, he or she can still participate in Summit Widener. Course registration for Summit Widener is PE 1881 for 0.5 semester hours.
When do I pay?
Full payment must be received no later than two weeks after the trip. Once the a trip is full, applications will no longer be accepted. Payment is requested via check, payable to Widener University. Students are asked to indicate on the check payment is for Summit Widener. Forward payment to:
c/o Office of Student Affairs
One University Place
Chester, PA 19013
If interested, please continue to check the web pages. If you have any questions, please direct them to WU_Hiker@mail.widener.edu.