Project Marj is Towson University's Pre-Orientation Wilderness Experience that has been operating since 1977 and is an experiential orientation course designed for incoming Towson University freshman and transfer students. The program is modeled after Outward Bound, which works to develop group efficiency, ingenuity, leadership, and self-knowledge. The challenging adventure activities encourage participants to disregard self-imposed limitations on the mind and body and promote the growth of self-worth and esteem. It’s challenging in many ways, but with a focus on communication and responsible risk-taking, it concentrates on safety and is within the physical capabilities of the average healthy person. Students have the option to participate in either a five day Backpacking or Multi-activity (White water kayaking and rock climbing) trip.
Project Marj embodies the spirit of a woman whose devotion to life and education inspired others. During the summer of 1976, a group of twelve teachers spent three months in the mountains together as part of a Masters of Experiential Education program offered by Outward Bound and the University of Colorado. One of the teammates was Craig Dobkin, a Towson University kinesiology professor. On the trip, Craig met a woman named Marjorie. The two became good friends, sharing ideas about education and a love for the outdoors.
When Craig returned to Towson, he began work on a University program that would adhere to the educational philosophy shared by Marjorie and him. The program would make use of the environment and experiential education to empower incoming students. It was designed to teach new skills by using adventure as a foundation for change and growth. Naming the program “Project Marj,” Craig Dobkin presented the idea to the Director of Student Orientation, Dr. Donald Squire, and the project began in the summer of 1977.