West Virginia Universitys Adventure WV, an orientation program that combines outdoor activities with fireside discussions about college life and community service opportunities, has captured a 2007 Lee Noel and Randi Levitz Retention Excellence Award.

The honorgiven by Noel-Levitz, a higher education consulting firmrecognizes the most successful, state-of-the-art retention programs at postsecondary institutions throughout the United States and Canada. Nominees were judged on identifiable and measurable institutional outcomes, originality and creativity, use of resources and adaptability for use at other institutions.

Adventure WV program managers Greg Corio and Forrest Schwartz accepted the award Thursday (July 12) at the National Conference on Student Recruitment, Marketing and Retention in Orlando, Fla.

Its an honor to receive national recognition for the work we are doing here at WVU ,Corio said.Adventure WV provides incoming freshman with opportunities to form a social network and a connection to the University and to the community before they have even started classes.

This makes their transition to college life easier and also gives students a strong foundation to excel in their college career,he added.This award recognizes our efforts to retain students and encourage student success.

Students who have completed Adventure WV say they have made lifelong friends and developed teamwork and leadership skills in addition to learning about outdoor opportunitiesrock climbing at Coopers Rock State Forest, hiking at Blackwater Falls, backpacking at Spruce Knob National Recreation Area, whitewater rafting on the Lower New River and morein the Mountain State.

Community service also plays an important role. Students participating in the Habitat WV program work hand-in-hand with Monongalia County Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for families in need.

The orientation programoffered through the WVU Student Recreation Center and part of the Universitys First-Year Experienceenables participants to earn two or three credit hours before the fall semester begins. Students keep daily journals during their trips, write goal letters outlining their expectations for themselves at WVU and submit a reflection paper at the end of the program.

Along the way, trained student leaders act as guides, teaching incoming freshmen about residence hall life, academics and how to become more involved and feel at ease at WVU .

For more information, visithttp://adventurewv.wvu.edu/.