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Wilderness Orientation

Wilderness Orientation

Join us for an unforgettable overnight orientation experience designed exclusively for first-year students! Get ready to embark on a thrilling journey of team-building, self-discovery, and adventure.

During the overnight stay, we will engage in a variety of activities that will strengthen bonds and foster a sense of belonging within our vibrant community. Unwind with soothing yoga sessions, where you'll find inner peace and clarity amidst the tranquil surroundings. Engage in exciting games that will challenge your teamwork and problem-solving skills, allowing you to forge lifelong friendships along the way. Indulge your creative side with some crafts that will unleash your imagination and leave you with tangible memories of your first days on campus. As the night settles in, snuggle into your cozy sleeping bag, sharing stories and laughter under the starry night sky on the Mangrum Track.

But the adventure doesn't end there! The following day, we'll head out to the breathtaking La Jolla, known for its stunning coastal beauty. Prepare to dive into a world of aquatic wonders as we embark on a thrilling kayaking and snorkeling expedition. Explore the crystal-clear waters, witness marine life up close, and create lasting memories with your fellow students. Don't forget to pack your water bottle, swimwear, and sunblock to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. 

We anticipate returning to campus by 4:00 PM on Wednesday, leaving you with ample time to reflect on the incredible journey you've had and prepare for the exciting adventures that await you throughout your college years.

Get ready to embark on an orientation like no other – one that will lay the foundation for a successful and memorable college experience.

To Register:

If you are interested in this program, please reach out to New Student and Family Programs at (760) 750-4930 or email them at

What to Wear:

Please wear closed-toed shoes and athletic wear for our afternoon together as we will be moving around for an extended period of time. For the kayaking portion, we recommend swimwear or clothing that will be comfortable should you opt to get in the water or just get wet in. A change of clothes for after the kayaking portion is also optional. Please wear a hat/sunprotection as we anticipate it will be hot and sunny out on both days.

What to Bring: 

  • Sleeping bag: A warm and comfortable sleeping bag to keep you cozy during the overnight stay.
  • Sleeping pad: A sleeping pad or mattress for added comfort while sleeping.
  • Swimwear: Pack your favorite swimsuit or trunks for the kayaking and snorkeling activities.
  • Sunblock: Protect your skin from the sun's rays with a high SPF sunscreen.
  • Towel: Bring a towel for drying off after water activities.
  • Water shoes: Sturdy water shoes or sandals for comfortable walking in wet environments.
  • Change of clothes: Pack an extra set of clothes for the following day.
  • Hat: Shield yourself from the sun by bringing a hat or cap.
  • Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the sun's glare with a pair of sunglasses.
  • Water bottle: Stay hydrated throughout the trip by bringing a reusable water bottle.
  • Snacks: Pack some energizing snacks to keep you fueled during the activities.
  • Personal toiletries: Don't forget items like toothbrush, toothpaste, and any other personal care items you may need.
  • Medications: If you have any prescription medications, be sure to pack them in a secure container.
  • Camera or phone: Capture the beautiful moments and memories of your orientation and outdoor adventure.
  • Backpack or day pack: Bring a backpack to carry your essentials during the day trip to La Jolla.
  • Extra money: Have some cash or a credit card on hand for any additional expenses or souvenirs.
  • Optional items: If desired, bring your yoga mat for the yoga sessions - can double as sleeping pad

Frequently Asked Questions: 

  • What should I bring for the overnight stay?
    Make sure to bring a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad and pillow for added comfort, swimwear for water activities, sunblock for sun protection, and any personal items you may need, such as toiletries and medications.
  • Where do I park?

    If you are traveling with your guardian, please park on the 5th and 6th floor of Parking Structure 1 (PS1). If you are driving yourself, you can park overnight at lot B, just be sure to pay for overnight parking. Here is the map for campus parking. 

    Overnight Parking

    Hourly and Daily virtual permits may be purchased:

    • Pay stations:  located in Lot B, C, F and N 
    • AMP Park App:  Download AMP Park app or access via CSUSM app, select Parking/Transit, then select Purchase a Day Pass.
    • Online parking Account: Log in with CSUSM credentials
    • No refunds or exchanges on daily/hourly parking permits.

    More information on parking 

  • How do I get to the location for Wilderness Orientation?
    Once you finish the normal orientation day (which begins at 8:00am - 4:45pm), you will collect your things and head down to the Mangrum Track with your O-Team leaders at 5:00pm to check-in and sign waivers. 
  • What should I wear for the Overnight experience?
    We'll be doing some team building activities for 1.5 hours. We plan on being active, so please be sure to have athletic wear on (stretchy, breathable fabric and close-toed shoes). 
  • Will there be showers?

    Shower usage will be available the next day, Wednesday morning from 6:00am - 7:00am. Your leaders will share more information the day before. We recommend bringing body wipes.

  • Will food be provided during the trip?

    Yes, meals and snacks will be provided throughout the orientation and kayaking excursion. However, you may want to bring some additional snacks if you have specific dietary preferences or if you anticipate needing extra energy. 

  • Do I have to provide my own sleeping bag?

    Yes, you will be required to bring your own sleeping bag and sleeping pad. If you do not have these items, Outdoor Adventures will have limited supply available to reserve. You will need to reserve a sleeping bag/bag by email us at - supplies will be given at a first come first served basis.

  • Do I need to have prior experience with kayaking or snorkeling?

    While no prior experience is necessary as personal flotation devices will be given and required for all participants to wear, it is highly recommended that all individuals possess a strong swimming ability and feel confident in the water. The kayak guides will provide instructions and ensure everyone's safety during the kayaking and snorkeling activities.

  • What should I wear for the kayaking and snorkeling activities?

    Wear your swimwear and consider bringing a lightweight cover-up or rash guard for additional sun protection. Water shoes or sandals that can get wet are recommended for walking on uneven surfaces. Wetsuits will be available for rent should you want an added layer. 

  • Will there be time to explore La Jolla on our own?

    While the focus of the trip is on the scheduled kayaking and snorkeling activities, there may be some free time to explore the beautiful surroundings of La Jolla. However, the exact itinerary will depend on time constraints and group dynamics.

  • What time will we return to campus?

    We anticipate returning to campus around 4:00 PM on Wednesday, July 12th . However, please note that this is an estimated time, and it may vary depending on traffic or other unforeseen circumstances.

  • Can I invite a family member or friend to join the overnight orientation experience and outdoor adventure?
    Unfortunately, the overnight orientation experience is exclusively for first-year students who pay for this specific excursion. Guests who are not part of the Wilderness Orientation are not able to participate in this particular event. The orientation is designed to help new students connect with their peers and establish a sense of community within their own cohort.

If you have any other questions regarding the overnight experience, please reach out to Outdoor Adventures at