Funded Projects2023 Funded Project: Western Colorado University

June 6, 2024

Championing Meaningful Connections

Western Colorado University is a Colorado-based university offering students the professional guidance necessary to build successful careers. Each year, the University’s Wilderness Based Orientation (WBO) program provides an opportunity for incoming students to meet other new students, make meaningful connections, build friendships, and familiarize themselves with the recreational opportunities that Wilderness Pursuits (WP) has to offer.


Fostering Community and Environmental Stewardship

Wilderness Pursuits is a program that provides fun, affordable, and professional co-curricular outdoor expeditions and resources for Western Colorado University students. All of the program’s trips are student-led and designed to meet the needs of a broad range of abilities and interests while helping students develop outdoor skills and foster community, citizenry, environmental stewardship, and healthy living. Additionally, Wilderness Pursuits offers low-cost gear rentals, a self-serve tune and bike shop, and Wilderness-Based Orientation (WBO) for incoming students.

Continuing a Legacy of Support

To honor Chris’ adventurous spirit, passion for travel, and love of people, the Chris Mikesell Foundation regularly supports Western Colorado University, Chris’ alma mater, through grant awards. This past year’s $6,000 grant will further support the University’s Wilderness-Based Orientation (WBO) and Wilderness Pursuits (WP) programs, dedicated to education, promoting intellectual maturity and personal growth in its students, and preparing them to assume constructive roles in local, national, and global communities.

  • We are so grateful to have the opportunity to continue Chris's legacy at Western Colorado University and to have the ongoing support of the Chris Mikesell Foundation in doing so...

    The WBO is a life-changing experience for first-year students moving to Gunnison, some of who have never seen terrain like ours or had the opportunity to recreate it in the ways we love to do so! Through Wilderness Pursuits and Wilderness Based Orientation, we are grateful to have the support of the Chris Mikesell Foundation to make these opportunities more affordable and possible for Western students, whom many fall in love with the valley like Chris did.” —Mackenzie Bode, Western Colorado University

To see a comprehensive history of organizations and causes the Foundation has supported, see all Funded Projects.

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