On July 28, 2015 40 students from Red Bluff and Corning High Schools in Tehama County headed north on I-5 to spend a day touring Southern Oregon University in Ashland. While, SOU is an out of state university, they are a part of the North State Promise in partnership with College OPTIONS which means that if a student graduates from a high school in Tehama County they are eligible for in-state tuition, which is currently around $6,000. In contrast, the out of state tuition is around $19,000; a huge savings. With this in mind College OPTIONS offered this trip to students who are interested in going to school in Oregon.
The day began with a student led tour of campus highlighting the many majors offered including theater, computer science and criminology. Students were also allowed to go inside the dorms and see what it would be like to share a sleeping space and bathroom like a typical college freshman living on campus. Many students were surprised to learn that at SOU they only offer single and double rooms, so even though you may have a shared living space and bathroom, you would only have one roommate at most.
After the tour students ate lunch at â€œThe Hawk,â€ which is the brand new dining hall on campus. Students were excited to see all of the options available including many locally grown and organic ingredients. As usual the all you can eat buffet was a hit with everyone.
The last stop on campus was a presentation by the Outdoor Adventure Leadership program. This program is designed from an integrative perspective offering comprehensive coursework in outdoor leadership, outdoor recreation management, adventure planning, tourism, risk management, stewardship, conservation, and preservation. The curriculum will help prepare students for a variety of certification opportunities in the outdoor recreation profession including Avalanche I (Forest Service), Leave No Trace Instructor, Swift Water Rescue (ACA), Open Water Diver (PADI), Introductory Canoe and Kayak Instructor (ACA), Wilderness First Responder (WSI), Safe Serve, Challenge Course Facilitator, and the National Recreation and Parks Association Certified Parks and Recreation Professional certification. The presentation included some fun and interactive activities to teach students about communication and leadership.
The day concluded with a leisurely stroll back through campus to the bookstore where students had the opportunity to grab SOU swag and snacks before hopping on the bus for the two and a half hour drive home. Many students were happy to learn that they could travel to an out of state college, but still be home in just a few hours. The goal of these trips offered through College OPTIONS is to expose students to the various choices they have when it comes to higher education. The impact can be heard in statements from students like Konner Castro who will be a 9th grader at RBHS in the fall who stated, â€This trip has motivated me even more than I already was for college.â€