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Outdoor Action

Leadership Starts Here

Freshmen Acceptance Letter

This is the information sent out to the Class of 2018. This information will be updated in June 2015 for the Class of 2019.

This is the general acceptance letter that goes out to all students with general information about participating in Outdoor Action. More detailed information about your specific trip activities and an equipment list for your specific trip will be emailed to you in mid-July.

Dear Outdoor Action Participant,

Welcome to Princeton and your first Princeton activity—Outdoor Action Frosh Trip 2014! Over 700 members of the Class of 2018 will participate in this year’s trip. We hope you’re excited about coming to Princeton, and we’re thrilled that you chose to join us on this year’s Frosh Trip. You can look forward to having a fun outdoor experience, meeting new friends, and learning about Princeton. Frosh Trip runs from Sunday, August 31, to Friday, September 5. Check-in for Outdoor Action is at 5:00 p.m. at Dillon Gym.

Throughout the summer we’ll be posting updates on our Facebook page with tips and tricks to plan your trip along with photos and posts from your OA leaders.
Like our Page at:

ACTIVITIES: Participants are divided into co-ed groups of 7-11 incoming students. Each group is led by 2-3 upper-class student leaders trained in outdoor skills, group dynamics, and wilderness first aid. If you indicated a special need or if you have a disability, we will place you on an appropriate trip. OA activities will end in time for you to participate in all aspects of Orientation Week, which begins on Saturday, September 6.

EQUIPMENT: Please review the online equipment list carefully. To help you plan what to bring we’ve posted a What to Pack video

READINGS: If you are interested in learning more about camping and the outdoors before your trip, pick up a copy of The Backpacker’s Field Manual, written by Outdoor Action Director Rick Curtis ’79. It’s available at major bookstores and online at It has all the information you might need about what to expect in the backcountry, what to bring, how to hike comfortably, and more.

SUSTAINABILITY: The OA program is dedicated to sustainable practices, both on the trip and back on campus. OA sends out over 1,000 people into the outdoors during Frosh Trip. We recognize that it is up to everyone in OA, both leaders and participants, to reduce our impact on the amazing places that we visit, especially if we want to conserve them for future generations of OA. One of the important ideas you will learn about on your Frosh Trip are the principles of Leave No Trace —a set of guidelines for minimizing both your eco-footprint and your actual footprint while outdoors. In order to make the trip as sustainable as possible we work hard to reduce trash by buying food in bulk and sorting our waste. Your group will separate food waste for compost, bring plastic back to be recycled, and recycle usable leftovers. When your return to campus, your commitment to environmental protection and sustainability can be channeled into a number of on-campus groups. For questions about sustainability and OA, contact Caroline Stone. You can learn more about OA’s Sustainability Initiative.

MEDICAL FORMS: In order to participate in Frosh Trip, you must have submitted the Health History forms from the matriculation website to University Health Services. We are not permitted to take anyone who has not been given medical clearance from Health Services. All required tests and immunizations must be up-to-date and recorded on the form before you submit it. The hepatitis-B vaccine is administered over a 6-month period; as long as you have begun the immunization series before the trip, you are approved to participate. It is required that you have had a diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccinewithin the last five years (unless you specify a religious exemption). Please complete your University Health History form as soon as possible if you have not already done so. If there are any changes to your medical information, or if you have a significant medical illness or injury that occurs between now and the start of Frosh Trip, update your application online or call the OA office at (609) 258-6230 so we can update your medical information. This will ensure that you are placed on an appropriate trip.

TRANSPORTATION: If you are arriving by car, you can enter campus via Faculty Road (see the Campus Map at If you are traveling by air, Newark-Liberty or Philadelphia Airports are the most convenient. There is a shuttle bus service between Newark and Princeton (they do not offer shuttle service from the JFK or Philadelphia airports, but private sedans are available from these airports). For information and reservations, call the Olympic Airporter (, 800-385-4000). Shuttles run about every hour and the rate is roughly $38.00 depending on the number of pieces of luggage. New Jersey Transit provides train service from Newark Airport to Princeton University with a transfer at Princeton Junction for about $18.00. Rail service from Philadelphia (on New Jersey Transit and SEPTA with two transfers) is about $15.00. Train schedules can be found at

ARRIVAL & MOVING INTO YOUR DORM ROOM: When you arrive on Saturday, August 30, go to Baker Rink to sign your housing contract. Staff from the Undergraduate Housing Office will be at Baker Rink from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Outdoor Action will have a table at Baker Rink with information about your trip assignment and where to meet your group at OA Check-in (see below). Any updated information about dorms unavailable for move-in due to summer construction will be posted on the OA website. All freshmen will be staying with their group on Saturday night, so no one will lack a place to sleep. Keep in mind that although you may be the first person to arrive in your room or suite, specific rooms and common space should be distributed fairly after all members of the room or suite have arrived.

Orientation Saturday for students participating in Outdoor or Community Action Saturday, August 30:

8 am-2 pm

Dormitory check-in. Baker Rink.

11:00 am-2:00 pm

Lunch available for members of the Class of 2018 and their families. Residential college dining halls.

12:30-2 pm

Center for Jewish Life/ Hillel at Princeton University reception for members of the Class of 2018 and their families. Center for Jewish Life, 70 Washington Road.

2:00-3:30 pm

Families welcome. Alexander Hall, Richardson Auditorium. (Simulcast to McCosh 50 and McCosh 10.

2:00-4 pm

Students participating in Outdoor Action and Community Action meet briefly with their residential college advisers. Residence halls.

3:30-4:30 pm

College welcome for families in residential colleges. Welcoming remarks by college masters.

4:30 pm

Family farewells in the residential colleges.

5:00 pm

Student check-in for Outdoor Action at Dillon Gym and Community Action at Carl A. Fields Center, 58 Prospect Avenue.

5–6 pm

Family orientation to University Health Services. A two-part presentation will address the health program at Princeton and the medical, nursing and counseling services available to students. Professional staff from various departments will answer questions and concerns. The second part of the presentation will describe how the University Student Health Plan works for students needing medical care while at Princeton. McCosh 50.

5:00 pm – ON

Dinner and packing for your Outdoor Action Trip

SPECIAL ARRIVAL NEEDS: Students with special arrival needs such as students flying in from the West Coast, students coming from overseas, or students who observe the Jewish Sabbath should contact the OA office to make special arrival arrangements. Your written request and explanation must be received by our office by Friday, August 1.

LATE ARRIVAL: If you will be arriving after 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 30, please notify the OA office (609-258-6230) no later than Wednesday, August 27 at 5:00 p.m., so that we can let your group leaders know and arrange for you to rendezvous with your group later on Saturday evening.If you arrive after 5:00 p.m. on August 30, contact the Public Safety Office at 200 Elm Drive (609-258-1000) to gain access to your room. Public Safety is open 24 hours a day and officers will be able to let you into your room or inform you of alternate housing arrangements. They do not, however, have your Princeton University ID card to give you, so be careful not to lock yourself out of your room. (Should you do so, call them again to be let back into your room.)

OA CHECK-IN: Check-in for the Frosh Trip will be in the lobby of Dillon Gym at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 30 (see the Campus Map at Please be on time! During check-in, you will meet your leaders and the other members of your group, as well as receive any equipment that you need for the trip. After finishing getting your equipment in Dillon Gym your group will pick up dinner outside the gym and you’ll head off to one of your OA Leader’s rooms to pack for your trip. Trip groups will spend Saturday evening packing and preparing for the trip and will all stay together in one of your leader’s rooms on Saturday night so you will be ready for an early departure on Sunday morning.

STORAGE: You should bring whatever you need for the trip with you to campus. Do not ship items you will need for the trip via UPS or other shipping companies; the University Mail Room will not be open on August 30. General items such as clothes, books, and furniture may be stored in your room during the trip. Valuable items like computers and stereos may be left in a secure storage area in Gauss Hall. The Gauss Hall storage area will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 30 for you to store your belongings. Gauss will be open again on Saturday, September 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and on Sunday, September 7, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. so you can retrieve your belongings. On Sunday, August 31, just before the trip leaves, we will collect any small personal valuables such as cell phones, wallets and keys just before you board your bus. These items will be locked in a secure storage area until you return.

MEALS: There will be a lunch for freshmen and their families in your Residential College from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 30. Outdoor Action will provide meals starting with dinner on Saturday, August 30, through lunch on Friday, September 5. When you return to campus on Friday, September 5 your group will go out to eat for celebratory dinner on Friday. Group members pay for this dinner, so it is convenient to have some cash on hand. University dining facilities begin serving brunch on Saturday, September 6. If desired, there are a variety of restaurants, grocery stores and delicatessens within walking distance from campus on Nassau Street and Witherspoon Street.

Special Dietary Needs; Vegetarian, Vegan, Halaal and Kosher meals: OA’s basic menu uses a limited amount of meat (chicken and salmon) for some meals. If you are vegetarian, it is easy to prepare your food before any meat is added. OA also provides some non-meat protein sources such as cheese and peanut butter. If you are vegan or have other special dietary needs such as food allergies, please contact the OA office 609-258-6230) no later than Friday, July 25, so that we can discuss your particular needs. If we have not heard from you by then, we may not be able to accommodate special dietary requests. The menu will be posted on the OA website starting July 25.

For students who keep Kosher or Halaal, OA uses products marked as Kosher whenever possible. In the case of items that are not labeled, a Kosher alternative is sent with the trip. Some meals may include both meat and dairy products, but these meals can be prepared without some ingredients to accommodate those who do not eat meat with milk. Students who keep strictly kosher may need to bring some of their own extra food items. For those who request in advance, we are able to provide kosher pots, stoves, and utensils. If you require separate kosher pots or have other special Kosher or Halaal needs or questions, please contact the OA office by Friday, July 18.

RELIGIOUS SERVICES: There are a number of different religious services available before the trip departs.

For details see Religious Services

  • Non-Denominational Service: A Celebration of Nature and Spirituality: The Office of the Dean of Religious Life will be offering a non-denominational service in the University Chapel on Saturday, August 30, from 8:00 - 8:30 p.m. People of all religious traditions are welcome.
  • General Services: The Princeton University Chapel will be open on Saturday, August 30, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 31, starting at 6:00 a.m. for students who wish to do their own worship before departing on the trip.
  • Episcopal Eucharist: Reverend Peter French will hold services on Saturday, August 30 at 9 p.m. in the Marquand Transept of the University Chapel
  • Ecumenical Worship Service: Reverend Deborah K. Blanks, Associate Dean of Religious Life will hold an ecumenical worship service on Sunday, August 31 at 10:00 a.m. in the University Chapel
  • Catholic Services: There will be a Catholic Mass on Saturday, August 30, at 7:00 p.m. in the University Chapel
  • Jewish Services: Shabbat services will be held on the morning of Saturday, August 31 at 9:15 a.m. (Orthodox Service) and 9:45 a.m. (Conservative Service) at the Center for Jewish Life, 71 Washington Road. Interested students should contact Marni Blitz, Associate Director of the CJL at 609-258-3635 or mblitz@princeton. If you indicated that you wished to return for Sabbath observance, you will be placed on a trip close to Princeton so that you return before sundown on Friday, September 5. Your return time will typically be 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Muslim Prayers: Murray Dodge Hall has a Muslim Prayer Room located on the third floor and open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight. There are no directed prayers during these times, but open space is available for meditation and prayer.
  • Other Services: For information regarding other churches and houses of worship in the local Princeton area, visit The Office of Religious Life.

TRIP FEE & CANCELLATIONS: The $645 Frosh Trip fee will be billed directly to your student account in August. It will show up on your University bill as Outdoor Action. If you are receiving need-based financial aid from the University, your cost for the Outdoor Action trip is fully subsidized. Those receiving aid will receive a credit for the total cost of the trip from the Office of Financial Aid also on your August statement. If for any reason you are not able to participate in the trip, please call the Outdoor Action office at 609-258-6230 as soon as possible. Cancellations should be made by July 31. There will be a $100 non-refundable cancellation fee for any cancellations made between August 1 and August 15. If you are not able to participate and do not cancel by August 15, you will be charged the full $645 trip fee. These fees apply to all participants, including those on financial aid. We have students on the waiting list for the program and your failure to cancel in advance would mean another student cannot participate in Frosh Trip. If there is an emergency and you cannot attend at the last minute, we must be informed by 5:00 p.m. Friday, August 30. Special cancellation messages can be left on voicemail at 609-258-5621.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS: During the trip, in the event of an emergency, families should call the Outdoor Action office at 609-258-6230 or the Public Safety Office at 609-258-1000 (open 24 hours). Outdoor Action staff members are on call twenty-four hours a day during the trip. Please call only in case of an emergency. Additional information about the trips and detailed emergency contact information will be available online at the OA Web Site starting August 31.

We hope this letter has provided you with all the information you need to be prepared for Frosh Trip. If you have questions about the program, please feel free to contact us by phone at 609-258-6230 or by email. We look forward to meeting you in August. Have a wonderful summer!