A Priddy Good Start to the Year: Reflections on Leading NSO from Caroline Peters ’21 and Mimi Norton ’22

By Mary Alice Ewing

On Aug. 17, 2019, nine days before the school year officially started, Colorado College opened its doors to welcome the new incoming class to campus. The 36 transfer and 538 first-year students moved into their new dorms, said goodbye to their parents, and began a busy week filled with activities ranging from diversity, equity, and inclusion sessions to ‘choose your own adventure’ conference-style mini-classes. 

Photo by Daniel Sarché

Among those on campus during this time were returning students who helped with the many New Student Orientation activities designed to help ease the new students into CC life, including dorm hall Resident Advisors, First-Year Experience mentors, and Priddy Experience trip leaders. 

New Student Orientation leaders have the sometimes daunting job of welcoming and breaking the ice for new students, which includes orchestrating many awkward games filled with fun facts, moving around, and a good dose of yelling. However, an integral part of their duties is leading new students on the famed Priddy trip, an experience begun in 2003 after CC received a $7.9 million grant from oil company founder Robert T. Priddy in 2002. Every year, Priddy Experience trips provide more than 8,000 hours of community service to over 36 community partners throughout the Southwest. 

This year, Caroline Peters ’21 helped lead a group of nine incoming first-year students on a side country trip to help with Larimer County Natural Resources, the government agency that oversees land management outside of Loveland and Fort Collins. During this four-day, three-night bonding extravaganza, Peters and her trippees helped lay cement bases for bear boxes and sealed trail head signs around Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. For their cultural day, the group traveled to Boulder for the farmers market.

Peters decided to lead a Priddy trip because of how influential her Priddy trip leaders were for her. “I looked up to my Priddy leaders so much and wanted to create that same experience for other incoming students,” said Peters. She was most proud of how well her trippees had bonded as she observed their rowdy car games on the van ride back home, vastly contrasting with the much quieter van ride out. 

Similar to Peters, Mimi Norton ’22 decided to lead a Priddy trip this year because of how much she loved her own the previous year. Norton was excited to lead Outdoor Recreation Committee trips and wanted to get to know the incoming students as well. 

Norton helped lead nine first years on a side country trip to do work on Greys Back Peak Trail, located just outside of Colorado Springs. They helped do trail work with the Rocky Mountain Field Institute while they were there and were proud of how much they accomplished. For their cultural day, they headed to Manitou Springs to enjoy ice cream while they watched runners race up The Incline. 

Norton’s proudest moment from the trip was during an evening discussion about differences. Norton said her trippees really opened up to each other and embraced their differences.

“Life would be so boring if you weren’t friends with people who were so different than yourself,” Norton concluded. 

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