By Emily Zekonis
For the week-long Adventure WV Orientation Experiences each freshman arrives with so much gear and survival tools that even the Mountaineer may struggle to use it all.
But the one thing missing from everyone’s pack is a cell phone.
Cell phones are not permitted on any of the 41 trips offered throughout the summer; a rule that forces college students to experience nature and other new students face-to-face.
“Chances are your phone won’t work where we are going and your battery will definitely die, so bringing a phone is impractical,” the Adventure WV Orientation Experiences website notes.
“More importantly, cell phones and MP3 players detract from the group experience. One of our program goals is to get to know each other well and to share a challenging and rewarding group experience together.”
So how was it to go unplugged in the wild?
“I didn’t miss my phone,” said Tyler Danahey, 18, of Moundsville, WV. “It made everyone more connected and attentive to what others were saying.”
Logan Hock, 18, from Bloomsburg, PA agreed.
Hock made his closest friends at WVU on this trip, he said, and not having a phone helped.
“It made us all stay up late to talk and get to know each other.”
There was a down side though. “We couldn’t take pictures,” Hock said.
Not having your phone to show your new friends your home life was definitely a problem, said Hannah Jones.
“And when we would see scenery, I wanted to take a picture but couldn’t,” she added.
West Virginia University offers five different orientation trips for incoming freshman each summer: Explore WV, Habitat WV, Odyssey WV, Service WV and Wilderness WV. They include whitewater rafting, camping, hiking and working with Habitat for Humanity to build new homes.