Students participating in a "trust" game during the first session of Getaway WeekendCollege can be a difficult transition for students.

They leave their home, get thrown into a closet-sized dorm with a complete stranger, and they have to create best friends out of these strangers.

This change does not have to be stressful, Getaway weekend creates a great environment for making friends that you will have for the rest of your life.

On Sept. 11-13, 36 first semester freshman and transfer students, as well as 12 leaders participated in Getaway weekend.

Getaway is a “student run, student planned, student facilitated organization that offers an off-campus retreat to incoming students,” said Erika Styer, a Senior Getaway leader.

“The first few weeks of your college experience are fast paced, hectic, and exciting, however for some students it can be a bit overwhelming. Our organization gives freshman and transfer students to “Get-a-way” from it all for a weekend,” Styer explained.

Getaway is run by a team of 13 to 15 student leaders who plan the weekend. All of these leaders are former Getaway participants.

“We also have two amazing faculty advisers, Kathy Jones: Coordinator for Residential Learning, and Sharon Knerr: area coordinator for Housing and Residential Programs,” said Styer.

This year’s weekend was held at Circle M Campground, also known as Outdoor world, which is conveniently located a few minutes off of campus.

The campground offers an array of activities such as an indoor water park, canoes, minigolf, volleyball, a swimming pool and baseball fields.

“The weekend is literally packed morning til night with fun activities,” Styer began, “We actually stress students not to bring homework, so that they will have a chance to fully embrace the weekend.”

Students play games such as wah, mao, capture the flag, musical body parts, great wind blows, mafia, whose line is it anyway, and many more.

“Most of the activities that we do have group discussions to accompany them. For example, we play games that revolve around some of our discussion topics like: confidence, MU 101, time management, leadership” Styer explained.

Styer’s favorite of these games is called “the great wind blows.” This game is played on the Saturday night of Getaway, during the bonfire.

“This is a game that reveals a lot about the people that you thought you knew. You learn about how you might actually connect with people very different from you.

“You learn to question your first impressions of people, because their lives may be very different then your own,” Styer said.

The weekend is a bonding experience, and the leaders stress an open and accepting environment.

“This is actually one of my favorite things about getaway. Normally in college, you are held back by social stereotypes, and expectations. But when you remove yourself from that environment and you are isolated with a large group of strangers, expectations are broken, inhibitions are forgotten, and friendships are kindled. I have never had a bad weekend. The students that come on the weekend are all fun-loving and really embrace the activities we do,” Styer said.

The first session of getaway went extremely well, many of the leaders said that this was their favorite weekend so far.

All of the students were excited to participate in the activities, which made the weekend better for everyone.

The only downfall of the weekend was it rained both Saturday and Sunday, but this did not put a damper on the weekend. Even with the soggy weather, there was no complaining, and everyone had a lot of fun.

Getaway is a great way to build leadership roles and share your own freshman experiences with incoming freshman.

“Personally, it has helped me cultivate certain skills and qualities that have helped me take on other leadership roles in my life. I owe a lot of my personal growth over the past three years to the Getaway program,” Erika said.

The next Getaway weekend will take place on September 25-27, where 34 students and 10 leaders will attend the final weekend of the fall ‘09 Getaway.