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Outdoor Action

Leadership Starts Here


Outdoor Action Reunions 2018 Activities

The celebration begins this spring at Reunions. Come join us and reconnect with OA friends from over forty years of the program. We are Princeton's largest 'leadership network.' Check the schedule below.

Friday, June 1

Climbing at the OA Climbing Wall

1:30 - 2:30 p.m. 
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. 
3:30 - 4:30 p.m. 

Join OA for Rock Climbing at the OA Climbing Wall. All equipment will be provided and OA Climbing Wall Staff will be on hand to belay and coach. Children must be accompanied by a parent. Ages 6 and up. Space is limited so pre-registration is required at

Lessons from the Triple Crown: 14 Months and 7,000 Miles Through the American Wilderness

2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Robertson Hall Bowl 1

Is adversity a basic human need? What motivates us to test our limits? What makes us truly happy? And what does it mean to fail? Bill Plonk '83, a geriatrician and palliative medicine physician, asked himself these questions (and many others) during his successful through-hikes of the Appalachian Trail (2002, 2170 miles), Pacific Crest Trail (2012, 2660 miles), and Continental Divide Trail (2017, 2500 miles). A former OA leader trainer, marathoner, and cancer survivor, Bill hopes to become the first Princetonian (and first known physician) to complete hiking's Triple Crown this August when he finishes the last 67 miles in northern Colorado with son John ’15 and daughter Natalie ’18. If you’ve ever dreamed what it would be like to hike for months at a time through some of the most spectacular scenery in the US, come hear about Bill’s amazing journeys and the lessons he learned along the way.

Tree Tour of the Princeton campus

2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Meet at the Whig Hall Steps

The Princeton University campus has over 150 different tree species from around the world as well as trees dating back to the 1700s. Come learn about the history and diversity of trees on campus at this Reunions favorite led by Glenn "Merc" Morris ’72.

Exploring Foundations of Effective Leadership

3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Robertson Hall Bowl 16

Princeton graduates serve in countless leadership positions around the world from entrepreneurs to teachers, directors to parents. Understanding the traits and behaviors that make leaders effective is critical for any organization, and applies to students on campus and alumni in the world at large. Join us for a panel that brings together experts on leadership and Outdoor Action alumnae from academics, business, government, the non-profit sector and current OA student leaders to explore what makes leaders effective and how to enhance your own foundations of effective leadership. 

Moderator: Rick Curtis ’79, Director, Outdoor Action Program

Mark Haefele '93, Global CIO, UBS Private Wealth Management; Majka Burhardt '98, Social Entrepreneur, Founder, Legado; Dan Kelly '03, Partners In Health; Katherine Ensler '08, Assistant Federal Defender, Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Catharine Leahy '18, graduating senior, OA Leader Trainer


  • Mark Haefele ’93 is the Global Chief Investment Officer of UBS Wealth Management and the Chair of the UBS Global Investment Committee. In this capacity, Mark oversees the investment policy and strategy for approximately USD 2 trillion in invested assets. Mark joined UBS as Head of Investment, CIO WM when the CIO office was founded in 2011. Before joining UBS, Mark was the co-founder and co-fund manager at Sonic Capital. He also served as a Managing Director at Matrix Capital Management. A former lecturer and acting dean at Harvard University, Mark is a frequent contributor to numerous financial media, including CNBC, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.
  • Dan Kelly ’03 is an infectious diseases specialist, epidemiologist, and human rights activist. In 2006, Dan and a Sierra Leonean doctor founded Wellbody Alliance, a non-profit organization that provided high-quality healthcare to the poor in rural Sierra Leone. During the 2013-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak, Dan created a coalition with Partners In Health to care for Ebola-infected patients and later merged Wellbody into Partners In Health—Sierra Leone.
  • Majka Burhardt ’98 is an author, professional climber, and social entrepreneur who’s spent over two decades exploring the globe—usually by hand and foot. She is the founder and executive director of Legado, where she works to protect the world’s most threatened mountain ecosystems by empowering the people who call them home. Legado originated during a pioneering climbing and conservation research expedition to Mozambique. Majka has an MFA in Creative Writing from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers and received her BA in Anthropology from Princeton.
  • Katherine Ensler ’08 is a graduate of Cornell Law School and serves as the Assistant Federal Defender in the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
  • Catharine Leahy ’18 is a graduating senior in the Chemistry department. Catharine has been active in the Outdoor Action Program throughout her time at Princeton as an OA Leader and a Leader Trainer. Her reflections will be on the impact OA Leader Training has on developing leadership among Princeton students.

Last Year's Panel

Outdoor Action Alumni & Friends Reception

4:30 - 6:00 p.m. Frist South Lawn Tent

Outdoor Action Leaders and alumni Friends of OA from over 40 years of the program are invited to join us for a reception following the Exploring the Foundations of Effective Leadership Panel. Come meet with old friends from over forty years of OA and learn about the latest changes in the Outdoor Action Program. 

Sunday, June 3

Outdoor Action Leaders & Friends of OA Breakfast Reception

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Chancellor Green Rotunda

Outdoor Action Leaders and alumni Friends of OA from over 40 years of the program are invited to join us for a breakfast reunion event. Come hear about the latest changes in the Outdoor Action Program including OA becoming integrated into regular orientation. Continental breakfast will be served.