The ORL program at Fairmont State University meets an important, strategic need to offer outdoor recreation opportunities focused on leadership training and lifelong physical activity. Experiential education is a critical part of the ORL curriculum which focuses on useable knowledge and real life experiences.
Few states or regions in the country find themselves so much at the interface of the outdoors and quality of life as does West Virginia and Appalachia in general. Given the state’s unique and important identity as the only state completely within the geographic context of Appalachia, our lifestyles, economic opportunity, education, and recreation are intimately linked with the outdoors. To be a citizen of West Virginia is to understand this signature and defining cultural feature. At Fairmont State University we offer many programs and opportunities for students to develop personal identity and an appreciation for West Virginia.
Given this special identity with outdoor experiences, recreation, and cultural impact the outdoors has on our citizens, Fairmont State University is committed to providing academic, professional, and outreach opportunities that embrace this important feature of our state and region. The ORL program provides both hard and soft skill educational programming that promotes professional development while supporting personal growth in the lives of students, staff and faculty on campus, as well as constituents in our communities. Experiential learning is the foundation of the Outdoor Recreation Leadership Program at Fairmont State. Leadership training and hard skill development is based on real life experiences. The majority of the required courses for the ORL minor are linked to kinesthetic learning, field experiences, and active participation. Learning occurs in a variety of classroom settings that range from multimedia rooms to wilderness settings.