THE EFFECT OF THE ORION PROGRAM ON ENVIRONMENTAL ATTITUDES

Open Access
Author:
Clabbers, Nicholas M
Area of Honors:
Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Harry Zinn, Thesis Supervisor
  • Deborah Lee Kerstetter, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • outdoor education
  • environmental attitudes
Abstract:
The Penn State ORION program is a wilderness orientation experience for incoming freshmen to the University. A review of the relevant literature and previous personal knowledge of the course showed two of the primary goals to be: 1) increased environmental awareness and 2) the building of social relationships. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the ORION program with regards to these two goals, with focus on the environmental aspects. This was done using an online pre-test/post-test approach that had participants take similar surveys before and after their ORION experience. Despite a large number of questionnaires submitted, there was little overlap between students who chose to take both the first and second surveys. Thus, analysis across groups proved to be impractical. In taking individual group results, most tests were found to have little or no relationship, with a few exceptions. Males were much more likely to have previously participated in outdoor activities before entering the ORION program, and students overall expressed that their primary reason for choosing to do ORION was meeting new people and making friends. Further research and a survey design that is more successful capturing pre- and post-test results from the same individuals is needed if conclusive results are to be discovered.