Lasting Impacts of Outdoor Orientation Programming: A Preliminary Study Using Longitudinal Data


  • S. Anthony Deringer Texas State University
  • Afi Y. Wiggins The University of Texas at Austin



outdoor orientation program, retention, existential development


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to examine the lasting impacts of students who attended outdoor orientation programs. This research sought to explore a critical gap in outdoor recreation research: longitudinal research about lasting impacts of outdoor orientation programming. We asked the following research questions to guide the study: (a) Do students who attended New Student Wilderness Expedition (NSWE) at Texas State University have higher grade point averages and higher retention rates than students who attended traditional new student orientation (NSO) programs? (b) Do students who participated in NSWE programming perceive a lasting positive impact on social factors that contribute to college retention? (c) Do students who participated in NSWE programming perceive a lasting impact on their existential development? Findings indicate that students who participated in NSWE were significantly more likely to graduate than students who attended NSO and that students perceived lasting positive social impacts and a lasting impact on existential development.

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