FSEM Info 9/19/22: COVID Testing and First Ascent FSEM Faculty Guide

FSEM Info- please distribute ASAP

Good morning-

Please get this information out to your FSEM classes ASAP. You may want to consider printing it and handing it out.  Many of our first years do not know how to get tested on campus.  Thanks for your help. Best, Monica

First Ascent FSEM Faculty Guide

Hello FSEM Faculty,

We hope that your first week of classes went well. I am emailing to pass along our First Ascent FSEM Faculty Guide that will hopefully support questions regarding the First Ascent trip.

Here is also a gallery of photos from our trip last weekend to provide a visual of KMC and programming. First Ascent Weekend September 16th-18th

Please review the document attached or the information copied below (both the same material) and reach out with any questions. Amber, Matt, and I (Liz) are all continuing to support on mountain programming throughout the fall, limiting our time on campus, but will work to support any questions that come up for you and your students alike.

Thanks for all your support with this program.

First Ascent FSEM Faculty Guide


First Ascent Website: https://studentaffairs.du.edu/orientation/first-ascent

What is First Ascent?

During the 2021-2022 academic year, the University of Denver acquired the Kennedy Mountain Campus (KMC). This upcoming year, we are excited to begin to build a new DU tradition, First Ascent! First Ascent is an experience that is personalized to our first-year students, allowing them to embark on self-reflection, connect with their peers through team building as well as exploring the breathtaking Kennedy Mountain Campus and the outdoors. 4Discoveries Orientation Leaders will accompany their classes on a 2-night weekend getaway that will be transformational in their time at DU.

The weekend at KMC will provide students with new immersive 4D opportunities for exploration, challenge, and connection. A variety of activities ranging from wilderness hikes, rock climbing, and challenge courses to personal and leadership development workshops will be offered. It will be a great opportunity to make new friends, challenge oneself by participating in outdoor recreational activities, relax, and simply enjoy the beauty of nature.

FSEM First Ascent Date Assignments

There will be seven (7) weekends in fall quarter and two (2) weekends in spring quarter. The spring dates are back up options for students unable to participate in the fall quarter or later decide that they would like to participate. Please see the FSEM Assignments document for these details.

Fall Quarter Dates

  • September 9-11 (transfer/exchange)
  • September 16-18    
  • September 23-25 
  • September 30-Oct. 2 
  • October 7-9  
  • October 14-16    
  • October 21-23   

Spring Quarter Dates

  • May 5-7 
  • May 12-14

Unfortunately, we cannot modify the currently assigned date for the entire FSEM class at this time due to logistical coordination and communication that has already occurred. In the future we will work to support the coordination of FSEM faculty in this experience as well as debrief the overall experience for this academic year. We apologize for any challenges and conflicts that have occurred up to this point. We recognize that this year is not perfect, but we are working to provide the best experience for students and faculty as we can given the current logistical coordination and maintenance needed at the James C. Kennedy Mountain Campus (KMC).

Student Participation, Date Change Requests & Exemptions

Please remind your students that they must complete the First Ascent Participation & Exemption Form even though they have been assigned a weekend based on their FSEM course. This form allows us to collect critical data related to allergies, dietary preferences/needs, ADA accommodations, gender identity for housing accommodations and preferences as well as data on why students are not able to participate or do not want to participate. It also allows students to change their assigned weekend.

All students must complete this form immediately. Students who do not complete the form at least 2 weeks prior to their weekend may not be guaranteed the housing, ADA and dietary accommodations they need due to the necessary lead time in coordinating these components. If students are unsure if they completed the form or need to modify their submission, they can resubmit and we will utilize their most recent submission.

Students can change their weekend experience when they complete the participation form. We are finding that for a multitude of reasons, students need to modify their experience date to accommodate their respective schedule. This is not a problem, but we must know immediately to include them in the correct weekend experience.

Faculty Expectations

  • Faculty are welcome to join their students on their First Ascent Experience with their FSEM class but are not required. We will have a full team of professional staff members including 4Discoveries Orientation Leaders supporting this experience. Please see the First Ascent Schedule Overview for those details. Note: Due to feedback of class conflicts, jobs/work, and other commitments we have recently moved the departure time of the trip back to 4pm to accommodate student schedules and participation.
  • The role of the faculty participation during this program will be limited due to the experience capacities we have in place at this time at the James C. Kennedy Mountain Campus (KMC).
    • Due to limited housing capacity and the priority to house students, faculty are encouraged to join students on Saturdays of the experience. Given the volume of our incoming class, we only have enough space for students. If faculty are requesting to stay overnight and/or travel on the bus, please indicate this in the FSEM Participation Form. We will work to accommodate requests on a case-by-case basis but cannot guarantee travel or housing for faculty.
    • For liability and risk management purposes, only faculty can join their students during First Ascent. We are unable to accommodate spouses, partners, children, or pets at this time. No pets are allowed at KMC.
    • Faculty will not be guaranteed participation in the outdoor adventure activities of the First Ascent experience given the program capacities to prioritize student participation. These activities include Challenge Course, Cliff Lake Hike & Climb and Guided Hikes
    • We encourage faculty participants to engage with their students during the other various components of the experience which include The 4D Experience Lab, Arts & Crafts, Free Time, Meditation & Reflection, and Choose Your Own Adventure @ the Activities Center.

FSEM Faculty Participation Form

If you are planning to join your students for their First Ascent experience, we ask participating faculty to complete this FSEM Faculty Participation Form so that we can gather some essential information and prepare accordingly to provide you with appropriate details for preparation, reminders, travel in addition to ensuring proper dietary and housing accommodations should those be needed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s