Orientation Explore!

    Washington College’s signature orientation program - Explore! gives new students the opportunity to make close friends and learn more about our local region. Each experience is designed around a special interest area and offers dynamic, experiential activities that help students acclimate to their new environment and connect with a small group of like-minded peers. 

    Explore! makes the transition to college less daunting. Beginning college life with a small group endeavor facilitates a personalized welcome and sense of belonging within our Washington College community. These shared experiences often become the most fond and memorable moments students have of Washington College. 

    What to expect:

    After moving in on Monday, students will have two full days of on-campus introductions to college life. Orientation Explore! begins on Wednesday evening and runs until Saturday evening, giving students ample time to rest up for their first day of classes the following Monday.

    Each experience is unique. Some groups are based on campus, some stay off-campus. All groups do a mix of on and off campus adventures. Selections are designed to appeal to many different interests and accommodate individual needs (dietary, mobility, stamina . . .). 

    Coming in April: New 2024 Orientation Explore! experiences. In the meantime, check out what was offered last fall.

    Students who have paid their deposit are able to sign up for Orientation Explore! here. 

    Experiences are filled on a first come, first served basis.  Explore! assignments will be announced at Flock Together in June.

    Explore! Summer 2023

    Are you a beach lover? Do you enjoy having fun and getting in some physical activity? Learn Beach tennis, one of the fastest growing sports in the world! Beach tennis is a combination of beach volleyball, tennis and badminton. The sport is fast moving, fun and easy to learn and play. Come make new friends while soaking up the sand and sun at Betterton Beach and getting a great workout too. No experience or equipment necessary.

    Guided by naturalists from our local Sultana Education Foundation, you will embark on a series of canoe trips on the Chester River. Each day will be spent exploring a different section of the river. Fishing, swimming, tromping in the mudflats, and learning about the natural history of the Mighty Chester River will keep you engaged by day. Evenings will be spent on land enjoying music and small group socials back in Chestertown. Great memories await. 

    Spend your days kayaking, fishing, and exploring this rural Chesapeake tributary. Your group will visit an historic tidewater nature preserve and hike along shoreline trails. Evenings will include riverside campfires and moonlit paddle outings. This three-day and two-night camping trip along the lovely Sassafras River is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

    On each day of this program, Sultana Education Foundation will lead you on an exploration of a different area of the county and its unique culture. One day might take you out to Oyster Aquaculture Farm and then an exploration of the old waterman's town, Rock Hall. Another day might take you to the northeastern part of the county and the Sassafras River where you will explore small historical towns and a farm and manor house that dates to the beginning of English colonization. Another day, you will explore historic Chestertown and the surrounding areas beyond Washington College. On these outings, you will experience both the rich history and modern treasures of Kent County. This will be a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in your new home! Evenings will be spent on land enjoying music and small group socials back in Chestertown. Great memories await!

    Explore the intersection of human and environmental health with foraging, kayaking, hiking, swimming, fermentation, and forest gardening. The permaculture philosophy asserts that people can improve personal and planetary vitality by living in accord with patterns observed in nature. Learn to use all your senses to experience your place in the natural world.

    Sailboats, big and small, have long been a part of the working and recreational environment on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Come learn about the history of sailing on the bay and learn the basics for recreational sailing on the Chester River. No prior sailing experience needed to enjoy this adventure.

    Participants of this program will EXPLORE everything Football. Focus will include interactive activities related to the NFL and Fantasy football. This will be a great way to connect with your classmates who love the game and want to learn more about it. 

    Over three days you will tour art galleries, watch art demonstrations, work with clay, dabble in photography, paint a mural, and gain an appreciation for the rich visual arts that abound in Kent County. Sessions will be led by the professional artists of Chestertown RiverArts. RiverArts is a local nonprofit in the heart of Chestertown that offers Community Creativity and Connection through the Arts.

    Into wildlife? Love the outdoors? Ever want to know exactly who or what you're sharing your space with? Come dive in deep into surveying all the organisms residing on our River and Field Campus! Led by wildlife biologists, work on your field skills while enjoying good company, hike by moonlight while doing moth surveys, cool off in the Chester River while seeking aquatic species & fishing! There's so much to explore at RAFC and this is a great way to see it all!

    The Barwick’s Ordinary site was an 18th century tavern that provided lodging, food, and services to people conducting business at the county courthouse. We’ll be digging in the cellar of James Barwick’s tavern to get an idea as to what people ate, drank and did for entertainment on the Choptank River 250 years ago. Students will get hands on experience in archaeological field and laboratory methods and contribute to the bigger picture of Eastern Shore history.

    Whether you're interested in tabletop rpgs, board games, card games, video games, or some other kind of game, we've got you covered. With dozens of physical game offerings with Washington Interactive Gaming Society (WIGS) and video games/esports in the Goldstein arena, you'll find something that sparks your interest. Washington College and the Chestertown community has a rich offering of games and gamers, so please come introduce yourself and join us for a few days packed full of games.

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    How do you want to change the world? How can you create change right here in your new home at Washington College? What opportunities, obstacles, and models exist for college students to build ethical and collaborative relationships with community partners? In this program, led by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, you will learn about the long history of political action that has happened right here in Chestertown, Md. You will explore the history of Civil Rights here on the Eastern Shore and along the Chester River. You will meet the individuals who are making a difference here today through public service. Most of all, you'll find ways to get involved in the community and find ways to make a difference beyond our campus. This experience will include volunteer service with the college's community partners and an opportunity to camp out at a local non-profit that focuses on environmental justice activism.

    On a voyage aboard the 18th-century Royal Navy schooner Sultana, students will explore the rich history of the Chesapeake Bay region. Participants will try their hand at the ship’s tiller, meet a pirate, and face off against each other in an epic naval battle. In the evenings, Sultana will dock at two historic estates on the Chester River waterfront for cookouts and games with Washington College upperclassmen and faculty members, sunset canoe expeditions and opportunities for swimming and relaxing. 18th-century baseball, Eastern Shore music, and a field trip to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will round out the trip. Participants will sleep in tents near the water or in the ship’s historic crew quarters. The program is geared toward students with an interest in history or American studies, although all are welcome to participate. This program is limited to 7 participants, first come, first served.

    Jump feet first into life at Washington College as you learn the basics of public speaking, collaboration, and improvisation! See what life is like as a theatre artist with a tour or two to nearby theaters. This Explore! program is filled with fun games, storytelling, and team building activities to help you navigate your first semester at WC!

    Explore the lands and waterways of Kent County with a Riverkeeper as your guide. Hike the shores of the Sassafras, paddle the Bayside Creeks, and enjoy a dinner cruise down the mighty Chester on the River Packet boat. Each adventure will connect you to issues of access, equity, and conservation on the Eastern Shore.

    Fitness friends are the best friends. Start your college career with healthy habits. Fitness classes, weightlifting, workout tips, healthy eats, and a small supportive group are what this Explore! experience is all about. If you are interested in wellness, this is the pick for you.

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    Exploring the sounds, sights and tastes of the Eastern Shore, while learning the filmmaking process to tell stories and make original, creative works.

    On this three-day, two-night experience with Echo Hill Outdoor School (EHOS), participants engage in a series of high-ropes elements on the Challenge Course. The Giant’s Ladder Zipline, Giant Swing, and Alpine Tower will encourage you to challenge your body and mind while discovering new things about yourself and your classmates. Tour different parts of Kent County, meet a variety of personalities who call the area home. Other activities include exploring a freshwater shrub swamp by canoe, and roasting marshmallows for s’mores over a beach bonfire. Enjoy a traditional Eastern Shore crab feast followed by a Chesapeake poetry and music performance to end your journey. 

    Navigate the Chester River with Echo Hill Outdoor School (EHOS) on their historic wooden workboats. Experience living legacies of Maryland history while on this three-day, two-night expedition, led by EHOS captains who spend much of their lives on the Chester River. Spend your days fishing, crabbing, meeting local watermen, swimming, and exploring the ecology of rural coastlines along the Chester River.

    Spend your days on and in the water! Travel to Baltimore Aquarium to spend the day with the fishes and friends- lunch and time to explore the Inner Harbor. Head to Cape Henlopen for a day at the beach- bay side & ocean side picnic lunch and ecosystem exploration. Spend the last morning on a peaceful paddle to Radcliffe Creek and a tour of the Waterfront Campus!

    This program is perfect for a novice or experienced baker, there is something for everyone! Students will learn kitchen and baking basics and have opportunities to expand their skills. We will experiment with different techniques and types of baking. They will visit a local bakery to see a larger-scale operation and explore our local community. Our adventure will culminate in a Grocery Games/Chopped style bake-off with celebrity judges!

    Explore! Opportunities for students registered for "Cultivating Curiosity: The Art and Science of Wonder"

    At the heart of our nation’s capital is the National Mall: 2 ½ miles of green space, monuments, memorials, and museums, where Americans gather for protest or commemoration, and where millions of visitors each year encounter an idealized version of American identity. The Mall is a long east-west space, extending from the domed Capitol building on the east to the Parthenon-inspired Lincoln Memorial on the west. In this Explore program, students will visit many of the Mall’s familiar memorials, exploring how generations of politicians, artists, and citizens have shaped field, swamp, and reclaimed river into a collective civic memory—and how this “memory” continues to evolve. Note: This program includes a lot of walking, but is be accessible to students with mobility challenges. The program includes an overnight in DC, a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, and an additional ramble around Washington, DC.

    Who gets to decide what makes it into a museum’s collection? Whose stories are lifted up to be included on the panels, audio tours, and online displays that show us as learners what is important to know about history? Conversely, which parts of history are not on display, and why? Perhaps most importantly, what can you, as a Washington College student, do if you want to participate in how history is told in public spaces? In this orientation program, we will consider how public spaces of history, like museums, walking tours and monuments tell their stories. We will explore the local history of Chestertown, and of Kent County, by visiting local historical sites and meeting with some of our community’s great historians. We will travel to regional museums and speak with people doing behind-the-scenes work in some of our region’s most interesting museums and cultural sites. Finally, we will partner with a local museum to help them begin the process of telling their story to the wider world by digitizing objects in their collection and building a virtual museum tour.  

    The Beautiful and the Strange: Exploring the Natural World Through Art and Science 

    Popular narratives tend to place art and science at opposite ends of the spectrum of knowledge, with art representing emotion and subjectivity and science representing reason and objectivity. But in a recent survey of three thousand biologists and physicists in the United Kingdom, Italy, India, and the United States, three-quarters of respondents said they encounter beauty in their chosen area of study, and more than half said that beauty improves their scientific understanding. On the other side of the perceived divide, we find a long history of artists engaging with scientific ideas and new technologies, stretching from ancient societies to today; in fact, the ancient Greek word techne from which we get the word “technology,” is best translated as “craft” or “art.”

    In this orientation program, we will explore some of the interesting intersections between art and science on our campus, in the Chestertown community, and at museums in Baltimore and Philadelphia. We will consider some of the ways in which art and aesthetics motivate scientific discovery and enhance scientific communication. Conversely, we will also examine the ways in which scientific thinking – asking questions, testing hypotheses, observing outcomes, and identifying patterns – directly informs artists’ choices of subject matter, medium, and audience.

    Disability Services

    Washington College encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any accommodation, please contact the Office of Academic Skills at 410.778.7860 or .