Learning about Life at OWU

Fresh X blends social, service, and environmental experiences

OWU students take a break during Wilderness Fresh X, a summer camping trip held at Hocking Hills State Park. Fresh X programs allow first-year students to get to know one another and participate in OWU activities before beginning classes. (Photo courtesy of OWU’s Office of University Chaplain)

Fresh X at Ohio Wesleyan is a unique opportunity for first-year students to meet their new classmates, challenge themselves, and learn about life at OWU, all before classes even begin.

This year students could choose to participate in Wilderness Fresh X, a camping trip at Hocking Hills State Park, or Habitat Fresh X, a project with the Delaware chapter of Habitat for Humanity aimed at building a house for a Delaware family in need.

Associate Chaplain William Hayes was a day-hiking instructor for Wilderness Fresh X. He says the goal of Fresh X is to “provide an experience for first-year students that will help them form friendships, learn about life at OWU, think intentionally about their transition to college, and arrive on campus with more confidence and excitement about starting college.”

Wilderness Fresh X gave students the option to participate in rock climbing, hiking, and canoeing. Freshman Amy Lefebve enjoyed the opportunity that Fresh X gave her to try new things.

“I did the rock climbing and canoeing. It was fun to do things I wouldn’t normally do. I had never been canoeing before and it was really fun,” she says.

Daniel Higgins ’14 also attended Wilderness Fresh X, and believes he made a good choice.

“I wasn’t initially going to go, but my cousin, a senior here, told me to go because of the new friends you can make during the trip. The closest friends I have here now went on Fresh X, and I’m definitely glad I did as well,” he says.

Jamie Richardson ’14 enjoyed getting to know new people on the trip as well: “It allowed you to meet some of your classmates, and Fresh X leaders Kit Faiella ’11 and Haley Figlestahle ’13 were awesome!” Faiella, a senior team leader, shared that he had participated on every trip since his freshman year at OWU.

“It’s one of the best programs that OWU has to offer.”

Freshmen Tamiko Hess and Zoey Kramer were part of the Habitat Fresh X team. Not only did they help build a house for a family in need, but they were part of a group that also went to a community center to do service work.

“We weeded, de-branched, and mulched the outside,” says Hess. “We also cleaned up the toys and helped the teachers with the children.”

Asked what she gained the most from the experience, Hess replied, “It’s a tie between the friends I made and seeing what actually goes in to building a Habitat house, because it is a lot of work.” Kramer also enjoyed making new friends and learning about Habitat for Humanity.

“It was a really small group so when I came in [to OWU] I had a lot of close friends already,” Kramer said. “I also learned a lot about Habitat [for Humanity]. It was impressive to see the before and after. There is a ceremony in November to dedicate the house we built, and I’m excited to meet the family!”

Debra Lamp, Director of Student Involvement and Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, believes that Fresh X truly benefits all who participate.

“Fresh X is a pre-orientation program that gives students a way to mentally prepare for the campus experience they are about to embark on,” says Lamp.

Participants are given a booklet to write down their thoughts after each day. They are asked to think about the questions “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What company will I keep?” and “How do I get there?” as a way to get to know themselves and others before beginning their college career.

The benefits of going on Fresh X do not end when the students return to campus, Lamp says. “It’s a program that everybody who goes loves. It resonates with them for their entire college career.”

Learn more about Fresh X.

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