Pre-Orientation Wilderness Experience
Project Marj is one of the longest running traditions at Towson University. Begun in 1977, Project Marj is a “Wilderness Pre-Orientation” program for incoming freshman and transfer students of Towson University and is managed by the Department of Campus Recreation.
Entering its 38th year, Project Marj 2015 will return to Shenandoah National Park, its original location, for the first time in ten years. Participants join together into groups of eight on the first day of the trip and then spend five days and four nights camping and backpacking throughout the park. Each group will be led by two student Project Marj Instructors who will provide instruction in backcountry living and hiking skills, as well as an introduction to life as a Towson student. Along the course of their hike, Project Marj participants will encounter the cliffs at Little Stony Man and get to step outside of their comfort zone even further and experience rock climbing and rappelling under the guidance of our experienced rock climbing instructors.
Date: August 17 – 21, 2015
Registration deadline: July 31, 2015
Download a Registration Form today!
Please email Andrew Lyburn, the Director of Project Marj, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Benefits of Project Marj
- Get a head start on your Orientation experience and meet current Towson students and alumni.
- Establish relationships with other participants and student leaders to create an on-campus support network.
- Increase self-awareness and self-confidence by stepping outside of your “comfort zone” and overcoming challenges.
- Begin the practice of setting and achieving individual and group goals.
- Gain a greater appreciation for the natural world and the simplicity of wilderness living.
- Build decision making skills as you work within the group to decide on trail plans and the day’s activities.
- Get engaged on campus. Research shows that students who are more engaged on campus will have greater academic performance than their peers and stay at Towson until they graduate.
Earn College Credit
Upon completing Project Marj, participants are eligible to receive one credit in KNES 271, Special Topics in Physical Education. To receive this credit, students must submit a three-to-five reaction paper describing the experience. It will count as an elective credit and is applicable toward the 120 credits required for a degree.
- The Director of Project Marj is Andrew Lyburn. He works as the Assistant Director of Outdoor Adventures in Campus Recreation. Andrew is a Towson Alumnus and also holds a Master’s Degree in Recreation Administration from Texas State University.
- The Instructors for Project Marj are current and former student Outdoor Trip Leaders for Towson University’s Outdoor Trips Program. They hold current Wilderness First Responder and Climbing Instructor certifications and have had over 600 hours of training and leadership experience in a wilderness setting.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who can attend?
- Project Marj is available to any freshmen or transfer student heading into their first semester at Towson. This program is within the capability of any average healthy person.
- Do I need experience?
- Project Marj is designed using the philosophy of Challenge by Choice so it is perfect for individuals of any ability level. Our Instructors will teach beginners all of the necessary skills to be successful on the trip and are adept at finding ways to challenge more experienced backpackers and climbers.
- Do I need to provide my own camping equipment?
- Almost all equipment needed for the trip can be provided by Towson University. Participants will mostly need to provide their own clothing.
- What do we eat?
- While we are limited in some of our menu options (ex: no raw meats), our Instructors are also great backcountry cooks. They will design a nutritious and delicious meal plan for the group based. We are able to customize our menu to any dietary restrictions.
- How does this affect move-in and orientation?
- Participants will not miss Orientation as it begins the day after Project Marj.
- How many people go on Project Marj?
- Registration will be capped at 24 participants this year. All subsequent registrations will be put on a wait list.
- What paperwork do I need to complete?
- To complete registration, participants must submit all documents in the Registration Packet by mail to Campus Recreation and be post marked by July 31, 2015.
- Can we contact family during the trip?
- We do not allow participants to bring cell phones or other technology into the field as we feel it is distracting to the group process and hinders participants from meaningfully engaging with other participants and with their own self-reflection. All leaders and support staff carry a cell phone for any emergency situations. All parents will be given the contact information for the Project Marj Director for any home or family emergencies.
- How should I prepare for Project Marj?
- We will contact you following your registration with an in-depth list of suggestions. Project Marj will be physically demanding so we advise that you begin a moderate exercise plan consisting of a one-mile run or three-mile walk for three to four days each week.