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All experiential education programs involve the potential for students to experience a crisis far from the secure environment of campus and home. Students engaging in these programs are therefore required to carry medical and travel insurance and to complete the waiver of liability forms particular to their college or university. Even as they gather this documentation, honors directors sending students to or leading such programs hold their breath and hope that they will never need to use the emergency contact information.
This has been our collective hope during the past four years that we have offered Partners in the Parks (PITP) experiential learning adventures. As University of Alaska Fairbanks physics professor and honors director Channon Price—coordinator of the latest expedition—gathered the documents, he was keenly aware that the remote Alaskan wilderness of Denali National Park and Preserve would be a difficult environment in which to manage a student crisis.