During week five of the Upward Bound Summer Program students from Mount Shasta, Dunsmuir, Redding, West Valley, and other neighboring counties went on a road trip together. From July 8th to July 12th students explored colleges throughout Oregon and Washington. All amenities were grant funded by Simpson University and UC Davis. For a large majority of the students, it was their first time out of California, it was a brand new experience cultivated to inspire students to go to college.
On the first day, students toured the University of Oregon. Nestled amongst towering oak trees along the Willamette River the University of Oregon is a public school known best for its exceptional science and research programs. The University has a Carnegie Classification of “highest research activity.” Upward Bound students were guided through the campus and ate lunch in the college food court. Next students drove to Corvallis Oregon to tour Oregon State University. This college is very different than UO. Its architecture is much more modern and its location is less forested. OSU is the largest University in the State with a total enrollment exceeding 28,000 students. Similar to the University of Oregon, OSU also has high research activity. Although exhausted from the grueling drive students of Upward Bound were enlightened by the campuses. After a long day, students crossed the border and stayed at a four-star hotel in Vancouver Washington.
The next day, the 9th of July, students toured the University of Washington. The 703-acre campus is located in the University District. A presentation educated students on the statistics of the college, including acceptance rate, requirements, and other important information. A guided tour around campus gave students a hands-on experience of what life as a college student is like. They learned about the social environment, the classroom environment, and the traditions of an average UW student. After the tour students ate dinner in downtown Seattle. For students from rural towns and small schools, this was a completely new environment for them. Chlorinated water, skyscrapers, homeless people on the corners, and a lot more diversity amongst people, introduced students to life in the city. After dinner, Upward Bound students explored the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. A solid of the earth transformed into a beautiful exhibit of colors and creativity. The artwork was mesmerizing, every stroke of color was done with the uttermost care, it was as though the artwork came alive, making music and dancing. Next students ascended 605 ft in the air in the space needle. They peered down at the city they had just explored, the buildings that towered over them now far below them. On top of the world, students got an amazing view of the cityscape. For $0 students explored the most exotic tourist attractions in Seattle. Students settled down for the night at the Holiday Inn in Downtown Seattle.
On the third day, July 10th, students toured Seattle University Campus. Seattle U is a private Jesuit Catholic school with a much smaller population of students. It is located in east downtown Seattle. The campus has been recognized by the city of Seattle and EPA for its commitment to sustainability through pesticide-free grounds, a food waste compost facility, recycling, and energy conservation program. The university’s most popular majors include Business, Management, and related Support services. After the tour students took a ferry across the bay to Tillicum Village where they discovered the culture of the Native Americans. A traditional lunch was served consisting of salmon, polenta and mushrooms, fresh salad, fruit, and a wide selection of desserts. A performance was put on depicting Native American culture through dance, song, and stories. After arriving back in Seattle students explored the rest of downtown in small groups with an advisor, they discovered Pike Place Market famous for its fishmongers, produce stalls, and local art, the sort of gross yet somehow awesome gum wall, and the first Starbucks ever created.
The following day students left Washington behind, crossing the border to Oregon and touring Portland State. This is a public university located in central Portland, transitioning between urban and more dated architecture. Portland state ranked Tier 2 in the 2019 edition of Best Colleges. After lunch in the Universities diverse food hall, Upward Bound departed to Tree to Tree Adventure Park in Gaston Oregon. Students navigated through obstacle courses within a canopy of trees. Aerial rope courses and tree top obstacles provided a challenging and skill building activity for students, then they hooked onto a zipline and flew through the air conquering their fears. This was a thrilling expedition for students, even the most timid of individuals participated in the obstacle courses building teamwork and leadership skills.
The last day, July 12th, Upward Bound explored downtown Salem Oregon and toured Williamette University. Williamette is a private university, it is the only college in the United States to be listed among the best liberal arts colleges and the nations top school of management and business. This college greatly appealed to students interested in the arts.
It was with a sad realization that the trip was over when the bus began its descent home. Over the course of four nights and five days each and every student discovered a college where they could fulfill their passions, friendships between students from different schools were formed, and unforgettable memories were made. Without the generosity of the program Upward Bound, many of the students enrolled would be unable to visit and apply to colleges, let alone pay for them. Upward Bound redefines the definition of college by aiding students to reaching their dreams.