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Outdoor Action

Leadership Starts Here

Supporting Outdoor Action


Gifts & Donations to Outdoor Action

You can help secure OA's future through a gift to Outdoor Action.

Quite simply, the Outdoor Action Program provides one of the most positive experiences for students at Princeton. On my Frosh Trip, my leaders told me that the trip would be one of the best times I had at the University or at least with Princeton students. They were right. And with every OA trip I have taken since, their words remain true. The greatest strength of the Outdoor Action Program arises from the fact that it offers the opportunity for Princeton students to get to know each other outside of the often tense and busy University environment.
- an OA Frosh Trip participant

Growing OA's Resources for the future - How You Can Help

The Outdoor Action Program currently receives 10% of our annual budget from the University. Eighty percent of the funds come fees paid by students and the remaineder from alumni and parent contributions. We strive to keep student fees low so that all students can afford to participate so we heavily subsidize trip activities. Your support helps keep all Outdoor Action programs accessible to all students.

How do I Make a Gift to Outdoor Action?

All contributions to OA are tax deductible gifts to Princeton University. These funds are used to help support the annual operation of the program in areas such as leader training.

  • You can indicate that a portion of your Annual Giving donation should go to Outdoor Action. Gifts can be submitted online through the University's Giving portal. Please indicate that your gift is to be directed to Outdoor Action (see example). You can also call the University's 24-hour gift line at: (800) 258-5421 within the United States (609) 258-3373 internationally. (The amount of your gift to OA does not count towards your Annual Giving contribution).

  • Gifts can be also made by check by completing the OA Membership & Gifts Form and mailing it to Princeton University. 

    Princeton University
    Friends of Outdoor Action
    P.O. Box 5357
    Princeton, NJ 08543-5357

    Gifts in the form of stocks and securities or other gifts may be transferred directly to the University. Please contact Rick Curtis in the OA Office, 609-258-6230 for additional information.

OA's Fund Raising Goals

Our goal is for Outdoor Action to be able to provide positive learning and leadership development experiences for all Princeton students in a safe and properly supervised environment. The goals identified for Outdoor Action are to:

1. Secure funds to maintain excellence in student leadership development

One of the most important parts of the Outdoor Action program is leadership development. Our goal is to be able to provide this important training to students for free. Therefore funds are sought to support leadership development activities during the year, including the Leader Training Trip, workshops and training courses, first aid and Wilderness First Responder courses, and general leadership development, which prepare students to serve in leadership roles not only in Outdoor Action but across the campus and beyond.

2. Provide funding to support a rich set of outdoor education programs and activities to be offered during the academic year

In order to offer a range of outdoor activities for students during the academic year, Outdoor Action needs general endowment to support activities during the academic year such as trips over breaks, day trips, community service programs for area youth, the Climbing Wall program, and outdoor skills courses like kayaking and rock climbing. These activities provide rich opportunities for student leadership development as well as community building and learning in social settings that do not involve alcohol.

Thoughts about the Outdoor Action Program

Here are just a few responses from people about the impact of the Outdoor Action Program. You can read more about what students, leaders, and alumni say about OA.

Outdoor Action continues to be an important learning experience for many students at Princeton. Its wilderness activities offer a unique opportunity for building a sense of community across the campus. The Climbing to New Heights Campaign will consolidate the growth that has made Outdoor Action a meaningful part of extracurricular life at Princeton.
- President Harold Shapiro

Outdoor Action provides a critical balance to undergraduate life, which is too frequently out of touch with the natural world. The opportunity to experience a closeness with the great outdoors is a crucial restorative.
- Josh Miner '43, Founding Trustee of Outward Bound USA

Among the many good things that Outdoor Action does is to bring groups of first-year students together in various terrains for canoe trips, backpacking, and the like, before they start school-a fine way to begin four years at Princeton.
- John McPhee '52, author, Ferris Professor of Journalism and Public Relations

OA's real success lies in the quality of its activities. OA programs promote friendship and understanding among races, socioeconomic groups, age groups and nationalities, in a way that no academic program could ever parallel, and in a way which social life on the Princeton Campus rarely, if ever, provides. The values of social responsibility, and the quality of our environment, of leadership, sensitivity, humility, and restraint in the face of adverse conditions and a plurality of views, are issues that surface on every OA trip, at every stage of its planning and execution. In other words, outdoor recreation, as practiced by OA at Princeton, is part of what education is all about.
- Dimitri Gondicas '78, Director, Hellenic Studies Program

The Outdoor Action program has established itself as a rich contributor to the total Princeton experience. One of the University's historic sources of strength has been the diversity of its offerings. That diversity also characterizes Outdoor Action: incoming freshmen are offered energizing outdoor travel and adventure experiences that develop friendships, strengthen community, teach skills, and offer new fields of challenge. All students (and now alumni and staff) are offered opportunities for outdoor activity and learning, skills training, opportunities for leadership development, and simply healthy, enjoyable, shared activities.
     I work in the field of experiential education and know many Princeton graduates who have parlayed their Outdoor Action experiences into career directions. I know of many more who have simply enjoyed a more balanced and energized Princeton experience thanks to Outdoor Action. The commitment and drive of Outdoor Action's leadership is impressive. Outdoor Action is clearly here to stay, and the Princeton experience is richer for its existence.
- Tino O'Brien '65, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School

What Students Have to Say

I think the trip was the best thing that could have happened to me. I learned more about myself and Princeton and got to know 10 terrific people. It made the transition to college a whole lot easier.

My first experience at Princeton University was an Outdoor Action Freshman Trip. I can see now, more than a year later, that it was one of my most valuable experiences at the University. Outdoor Action did far more than introduce me to ten of my future classmates. It has provided the opportunity for me to interact with fellow students outside of the academic environment. Encountering the beauty and challenges of nature with an OA group provides for an intense and meaningful sense of camaraderie that is difficult to find during the pressures of classes. I have also learned numerous skills from Outdoor Action--first aid, hiking, minimal impact camping, cross-country skiing and kayaking are examples. I was changed from a city dweller with no outdoor experience to a camper with a greater sense of respect for the environment. I don't think I would have learned this without Outdoor Action.

No other activity at Princeton has offered me the camaraderie and the opportunity to make close friendships as quickly as OA. In a place whose atmosphere is all too often characterized by pressure and anxiety, Princeton could use an even larger Outdoor Action Program.

Quite simply, the Outdoor Action Program provides one of the most positive experiences for students at Princeton. On my Freshman Trip, my leaders told me that the trip would be one of the best times I had at the University or at least with Princeton students. They were right. And with every OA trip I have taken since, their words remain true. The greatest strength of the Outdoor Action Program arises from the fact that it offers the opportunity for Princeton students to get to know each other outside of the often tense and busy University environment.

OA is one of the most organized programs I have ever taken part in. Also its selection and training of leaders is excellent as the leaders are as supportive and caring as is possible to be. Personally, the trip was a great challenge that I overcame with tremendous support. If this is representative of the way in which Princeton thrives, I know that the next four years will be the very best ones of my life.

I loved the experience-the group awareness and bonding ultimately caused individual growth for every group member, I'm sure. The last night, when our group spent three or more hours discussing each individual, it was so spectacular to be able to view oneself through the mirrors held up by others. The group was helpful to me in that it lessened my fears about the social scene at Princeton-getting to know nine wonderfully interesting and caring people.

I believe that the trip was the best possible way for me to begin my time at Princeton. I had the most wonderful time and I know I will stay close to the friends I made. The planning was incredible and I am so thankful to everyone who made this possible.

[OA] outdid all of my expectations. I had a fabulous time. My group was great and we really hit it off. I think I made some great friends, a few of whom I expect will become very close friends. The Outdoor Action program was an extremely valuable experience and one I will not soon forget. The trip surpassed all of my expectations. It was an extremely positive experience. It was also a great introduction to a small portion of the Princeton community, which is incredible in its talent, diversity, and perspective. I made some friendships that I expect will last through my four years here and possibly longer.

The trip was a wonderful experience. My group was a conglomerate of very diverse people. Had we all not been thrown together in the wilderness for six days I probably wouldn't have met and become friends with most of them. Every member of my group contributed to the trip's greatness in a different way. I think it was a great way to begin Princeton because not only do you meet a bunch of people, but the trip also allowed me a lot of time to think and become in touch with myself.

OA was fantastically organized with a meticulous approach to safety and fun. I am an urbanite. Though I still am a victim of time and cement, I have gained a new respect for wilderness and group cooperation. I am thrilled to have had this experience with eleven others whom I now recognize as close friends. I a word, thanks!!