This year LandSea, Kalamazoo College’s outdoor pre-orientation program, celebrated its 40th anniversary. Land Sea welcomes students who desire to be challenged both physically and mentally.
LandSea was the brainchild of George M. Rainsford, Kalamazoo College’s 16th president. One of his first acts as president was to create orientation programs on campus to give students the opportunity to adjust to college before classes began.
In 1973, Rainsford launched a pilot outward bound program of about 20 students to go to Porcupine Mountains in Ontonagon, Michigan. The program was a success and the following year, LandSea was implemented as an annual program for first years.
The locations have ranged to Pictured Rocks in Grand Marais, Mich., to Algonquin National Park in Ontario, Canada and now held at the Adirondacks in New York. The number of participants has increased over the last forty years, originally starting with 60 participants and the average is now at 80—about 20% of the incoming class.
“The importance of the program comes from learning the ability to jump into the unknown and to learn coping strategies that are required for participants to clear obstacles. The network of friends that the participant gains from the trip is also important to have a safety net when the participant arrives on campus,” said Director of LandSea Jorich Horner.
Annalise Robinson ‘17 claimed that her experience as a participant on LandSea gave her the confidence to further involve herself into programs on campus. The confidence she saw in her leaders sprouted the desire in her to become one so that she would be able to give first years the experience that she had to have a strong connection with upperclassman.
“A leader has to overcome challenges same as a participant, however the skills gained from those challenges are different,” said Robinson.
Annalise reflects that being a leader on LandSea, she was able to gain patience and develop her own leading style, which she says helps her be a leader on campus.
“No matter what way an individual is affiliated with LandSea, it gives them peace of mind that they accomplished challenges they never thought they could. The skills gained from those challenges are not only important for the outdoors but useful for campus life as well,” said Robinson.