Feb 11, 2021 | NEWS | By Leah Thayer | Illustration by Jubilee Rivera-Hernandez

“A fun, experiential, small group experience that enables you to connect to Colorado College, meet other incoming students and begin to develop friendships while learning about life at CC.”

That is how Colorado College Outdoor Education describes the Priddy Experience on their website. It’s no secret this past year has been a time of uncertainty, requiring creative adjustments to be made to many plans, and the 2021 Winter-Start Priddy Experience was no exception.

“Coming in as a winter-start, there are already established friend groups, and my Priddy trip was super important to get a sense of the culture at CC and meet some new people who were in the same boat,” Annabelle Ward ’23 said. “I feel terrible for the winter-starts this year who did not get to experience those essential in-person introductions, but I don’t think this will prevent them from forming their own community at CC.”

The 2021 Winter Start Orientation (WSO) allowed CC to provide new students with a fun and informative introduction to the school community. Like many programs these days, the 2021 Winter-Start Priddy Experience featured a hybrid format, with various online as well as in-person components for the incoming Class of 2024 and new transfer students to partake in.

The online elements, which ran the week of Jan. 26, consisted of nightly Zoom meetings with Priddy groups and their orientation leaders, where they discussed topics such as land acknowledgment, dialogue partner exercises, the academic and social scene at CC, and the Collaborative for Community Engagement.

Priddy Experience organizers were also able to incorporate in-person components into the 2021 programming. Unlike years prior, where Priddy trips took place all across Colorado and neighboring states of the Southwest, the activities this year took place only on-campus and in the local Colorado Springs area.

“Priddy Weekend” provided winter-start students with the opportunity to finally meet their Priddy group IRL (in real life) after all participants completed CC’s mandatory 10-day enhanced social distancing and COVID-19 testing protocol.

WSO Priddy Experience leader Mahala Moran ’22 described how all participants were able to safely take advantage of this year’s WSO Priddy experience. “We made sure everyone was out of enhanced social distancing before we met up and had outdoor, distanced activities,” Moran said.

WSO in-person activities, which occurred over the first weekend of Block 5, Feb. 5-7, consisted of programming where students were engaged in community building, local exploration, service, and evening social events. These in-person activities included a “Night at the Museum” held at the Fine Arts Center (FAC), a day hike at Red Rock Canyon Open Space, a “Sense of Place” tour of downtown Colorado Springs, and “Get Active,” where leaders encouraged participants to engage in physical activities available at the Adam F. Press Fitness Center.  

Even though this year’s WSO did not have a typical Priddy Trip, students didn’t need to travel outside of El Paso County in order to experience college social life.

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