The Outdoor Action Leave a Trace Program was developed in 1999 as part of our continued goal of providing the most effective orientation program for incoming Princeton students. Each year over 50% of the incoming class participates in the Outdoor Action Frosh Trip. These trips serve as both the transition between high school and college and their first exposure to life at Princeton. The 6-day small group setting provides an excellent opportunity to introduce incoming students to campus life and to encourage students to pursue a positive role as a member of the campus community, to dispel many of the myths that exist about Princeton social life and alcohol in particular, and to encourage responsible decision-making.
The Outdoor Action Leave a Trace program has grown out of the work that we have done over the last five years to provide a more focused orientation curriculum for new students who participate in either the Outdoor Action Frosh Trip program. Over the six days of the Frosh Trip, student leaders answer a range of questions about Princeton. The information that the leaders provide, how they present the campus, issues of diversity, social life and alcohol, and how they serve as positive role models can have a significant impact on a first year student’s perceptions of Princeton.
The Leave a Trace program focuses on training student leaders to provide a “positive set of footprints” for incoming students to make their way through Princeton. These two pre-orientation programs present a unique opportunity to create a positive vision of what it means to be a responsible member of the Princeton community. Since Outdoor Action began this program more than ten years ago it has expanded the focus of the program from alcohol and social life issues to topics such as diversity, tolerance, respect for others, pluralistic ignorance, and making responsible choices. All of these things combine to create positive campus climate that encourages responsible use of alcohol and respectful treatment of other students.