Camp SESE provides incoming School of Earth and Space Exploration first-year students an introduction to ASU and the School of Earth and Space Exploration family. Camp SESE is intended to be a fun, informative activity and an opportunity for new students to get to know us and each other. Faculty, staff and upperclassmen will act as a resource for students during the camp.
All first-year students must take SES 191 and Camp SESE is part of that course. Students will participate in this 3-day, 2-night excursion to ASU’s unique facility at Tonto Creek Camp. At 5600’ in the Ponderosa Pines near Payson, AZ (1.5 hours from ASU’s Tempe campus) Tonto Creek Camp offers a welcome escape from the summer heat in a beautiful wilderness area. Studies show that students who are immediately engaged in their academic environment have higher retention and graduation rates.
All participants must be registered to be in the class SES 191: Exploring SESE and also fill out both the ASU and the Tonto Creek Camp liability waiver forms. These two forms must be turned in during class prior to departing for Camp SESE: ASU Camp SESE release form and the Tonto Creek Camp (18 and older) release form (PDF).
If you are not 18 at the time you attend camp, your parent or guardian will need to sign both the ASU Camp SESE release form and the Tonto Creek Camp (under 18) release form (PDF). Answers to many of your questions about the camp can be found below in Frequently Asked Questions.
- To introduce the School of Earth and Space Exploration mission and vision, blending Earth, Environmental and Space Sciences with Engineering for Exploration.
- To create a sense of community and establish open channels of communication.
- To spark initial connections among incoming students and upper-division mentors.
- To cultivate leadership and teamwork.
- To kick off the academic year with a fun escape in the mountains
- Hike and learn about the landscape, climate and geology
- Star gazing with telescopes
- Orienteering adventure (use compasses, topography maps and explore!)
- Low Ropes Challenge Course
- Drive robots and learn about Autonomous Vehicles in Scientific Exploration
- Get to know each other, your mentors, and faculty
About the Location: Tonto Creek Camp
Tonto Creek Camp is the location for Camp SESE. It is a relaxing, rustic 36-acre campsite at 5600’ elevation in the Tonto National Forest just 1.5 hours from the ASU Tempe campus that has hosted decades of events and retreats for Sun Devil athletics, ASU academic programs, ASU families, as well as local businesses and the community.
Situated just below the Rim of the Colorado Plateau and nestled in the largest continuous stand of ponderosa pines in the US, Tonto Creek Camp is outfitted with 2 sports fields, dormitories for large groups, a variety of rustic cabins for small groups, and a dining hall. Tonto Creek Camp has many natural amenities, including a natural spring that supplies ample water year round, hiking trails through the National Forest, beautiful rock formations, swimming holes, and excellent fishing on Tonto Creek.
For nearly 50 years, the Arizona State University Sun Devils practiced football at Tonto Creek Camp. Following the example set by Frank Kush, numerous coaches led their teams up the hill from the Valley to enjoy the tall pines, build a sense of camaraderie, and practice without the distractions of life on campus.
If the answer to your question is not in Frequently Asked Questions below, please contact the Academic Programs office.
Phone: 1 (480) 965-5081