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Outdoor Action

Leadership Starts Here

Outdoor Action is now an integrated part of Freshmen Orientation

Starting in 2016 the OA Frosh Trip will be an integrated part of the orientation process for incoming freshmen. Next fall students will arrive on September 3 for two days of orientation in the residential colleges followed by either a 5-day Outdoor Action or Community Action trip. There will be a new program for fall freshmen athletes that incorporates some of the same trail-side discussions about campus life that happens on OA.
This is a momumental step forward for OA. It recognizes and applauds the impact that OA has had for freshmen for over forty years and transforms the program from 'optional pre-orientation' to an integrated and integral part of the orientation process. I want to say thank you to the thousands of OA Alumni Leaders who dedicated themselves to helping incoming students get the very best start at Princeton. You created the model that the University has chosen to implement.
Going forward the OA Frosh Trip will be offered at no charge to all participants. Also, the OA Leader Training Program will now be free to all participants.

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Freshmen Acceptance Letter

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

Welcome to Frosh Trip!

Welcome to Princeton Outdoor Action Frosh Trip 2015!

Welcome to Princeton and your first Princeton activity—Outdoor Action Frosh Trip 2015! We hope you’re excited about coming to Princeton, and we’re thrilled that you chose to join us and over 700 of your classmates on this year’s OA Frosh Trip.  You can look forward to meeting new friends, learning about Princeton, and having an incredibly fun outdoor experience. We wanted to let you know right away that we have a space for you on OA Frosh Trip so you can begin making your travel plans.

Frosh Trip runs from Sunday, September 6 to Thursday, September 10. Check-in for Outdoor Action is at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 5 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:

Preparing for OA

Make new friends!

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. You will be matched to a trip and activity that meets your physical fitness level.  We encourage all participants to begin preparing for their trip by being physically active 3-4 times a week. If you indicated a special need or if you have a disability, we will place you on an appropriate trip. You will receive an email in mid-July with the type of trip you have been assigned to and the equipment list for that type of trip.

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 diphtheriatetanusand pertussis (DTaP) vaccine within 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.

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.

Arriving on Campus

Frosh Trip loading up a van

TRANSPORTATION: If you are arriving by car, you can enter campus via Faculty Road (see the Campus Map). If you are traveling by air, Newark-Liberty or Philadelphia Airports are the most convenient, and there are numerous convenient airport shuttle and train services that will bring you to campus.  

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, July 31.

LATE ARRIVAL: If you will be arriving after 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 5, please notify the OA office (609-258-6230) no later than Friday, August 28 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 September 5, 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.)

What happens Saturday, September 5?

ARRIVAL & MOVING INTO YOUR DORM ROOM: When you arrive on Saturday, September 5, 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). 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. All freshmen will be staying with their group on Saturday night.

Orientation Saturday for students participating in Outdoor or Community Action Saturday, September 5:

8 am-2 pm

Dormitory check-in. Baker Rink.

11 am-2 pm

Lunch for members of the Class of 2019 and their families. Residential college dining halls.

12:30-2 pm

Center for Jewish Life reception for members of the Class of 2019 and their families. Center for Jewish Life, 70 Washington Road.

2-3:30 pm

Families welcome. Alexander Hall, Richardson Auditorium.

2-4 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 pm

Student check-in for Outdoor Action at Dillon Gym

5–6 pm

Family orientation to University Health Services.

5:00 pm  On

Dinner and packing for your Outdoor Action Trip


OA Leader Team

OA CHECK-IN: Check-in for the Frosh Trip will be in the lobby of Dillon Gym at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 5 (see the Campus Map). 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 September 5. General items such as clothes, books, and furniture may be stored in your room during the trip. On Sunday, September 6, 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 Saturday, September 5. Outdoor Action will provide meals starting with dinner on Saturday, September 5, through lunch on Thursday, September 10. When you return to campus on Thursday, September 10 your group will go out to eat for celebratory dinner on Thursday. Group members pay for this dinner, so it is convenient to have some cash on hand. University dining facilities begin serving brunch on Friday, September 5. If desired, there are a variety of restaurants, grocery stores and delicatessens within walking distance from campus on Nassau Street and Witherspoon Street.

Special Needs

SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS: OA’s basic menu uses a limited amount of meat (chicken and salmon) for some meals. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is easy to prepare your food before any meat is added and there are plenty of vegan protein sources (nuts, beans, peanut butter, etc.).  If you indicated an allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, or gluten, we will ensure that all of your food is allergen-free.  If you have special dietary concerns or you dietary needs differ from what you included in your application, please contact the OA office (609-258-6230) no later than Friday, July 17, 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 for the trips can be found on the OA website.

For students who keep Kosher, we can ensure that all of the food on your trip is certified Kosher and will leave the food in its original packaging for your inspection.  We can also provide kosher pots and utensils, if requested by Friday, July 17.

For students who eat Halaal, we will send no meat (other than Kosher salmon) on your trip.  If you have additional requests or concerns, please contact the OA office by Friday, July 17.

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

Reflection on Stratton Pond

  • 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, September 5, 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, September 5, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, September 6, starting at 6 a.m. for students who wish to do their own worship before departing on the trip.

  • Episcopal Service: Reverend Peter French will hold a Eucharist service on Saturday, September 5 at 9 p.m. in the Marquand Transept of the University Chapel

  • Catholic Service: There will be a Catholic Mass on Saturday, September 5, at 7 p.m. in the Marquand Transept of the University Chapel

  • Jewish Services: Services will be held on Friday evening (6:30pm) and Saturday morning (9:15am) 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.

  • 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, September 4. 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 September 6.

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!

HEART made from Water bottles