The Outdoor Action Program
at Princeton University:
A Twenty-five Year Perspective

Rick Curtis
Director, Outdoor Action Program

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  1. Outdoor Action History

  2. Outdoor Action Program Goals

  3. The Outdoor Action Model

  4. Impact of the Outdoor Action Program

  5. Environmental Stewardship

  6. OA Program Participation Growth

  7. Outdoor Action Activities

  8. Outdoor Action Leader Training Program

  9. OA Develops New Program Areas to Contribute to Campus Life

  10. Support for the Program

  11. Program Standards and Accreditation

  12. Interdepartmental Interaction

  13. Outdoor Action Resources & Facilities

  14. Outdoor Action Services

  15. Program Budget

  16. Alumni Fund Raising

  17. Alumni Programs

  18. 1Outdoor Action Staffing

  19. Program Organization

  20. OA Leadership in College Outdoor Programming

  21. Friends of Outdoor Action

  22. Climbing to New Heights Campaign

  23. Future Program Development



The Outdoor Action Program has been an important program for building community at Princeton for the past twenty-five years. Outdoor Action activities serve as powerful group bonding experiences that help students develop new friendships, learn leadership skills, increase interpersonal skills, develop concern for the environment, and learn lifelong wilderness skills. The overall success of the program can be seen through the yearly increases in participation, through evaluations by student participants and leaders, and through research studies that have been done on the program. This report documents the history and growth of the program since its founding in 1974.

Outdoor Action has become a broad-based program that provides a wide variety of experiential learning opportunities for Princeton students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Over half of all current Princeton undergraduates have participated in one or more Outdoor Action activities. To understand the broad campus impact of the program it is important to examine the range of services that OA provides to the Princeton community:

Outdoor Action Program Mission Statement

To provide enriching educational and personal growth experiences through outdoor and adventure challenge activities to members of the Princeton University community and to urban youth in the Princeton area encouraging leadership development, skill development, and stewardship of the natural world.

The broad impact that the Outdoor Action program has had on the lives of Princeton students, and on the campus as a whole over the past twenty-five years must be recognized. Here are some comments from parents and alumni that reflect on how this program has changed the lives of Princeton students.

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.

If I had to name the experiences that have affected me the most and have been the catalyst for personal change, OA would claim the majority. I have gained self-confidence and a teaching ability through my leader training. I love OA! Princeton is enriched tremendously by having such a diverse & challenging program.

OA breaks down all of the barriers at Princeton. It allows people to break out of the social structures that divides and inhibits a lot of people. Because you eat, sleep, stink and struggle together, no one feels left out of the group experience. There is transference back on campus as well...I am still good friends with all the people I have met on this trip. There is almost a spiritual bond between OA people that I haven't found anywhere else at Princeton.

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.

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.

1. Outdoor Action History

The Outdoor Action Program (OA) was begun as a pilot project in 1973 by members of the Dean of Students Office to address the issues of isolation experienced by students on campus and to provide an opportunity for increased interpersonal interaction and personal growth. The pilot program involved a small group of entering freshmen who participated in a group wilderness activity in the fall of 1973. That first trip brought eight entering students together with upperclass leaders. The program was an immediate success as a bonding experience for new Princetonians, an opportunity to meet upperclass students, and a chance to explore the wilderness. Student leaders with wilderness camping skills were recruited and backpacking equipment was purchased, so that the program could serve more students. The next trip, in 1974, had 100 participants. As this expansion was occurring, students and administrators involved in the program felt that Outdoor Action could provide other outdoor experiences during the year in addition to the Frosh Trip. As a result, OA began offering trips and programs throughout the academic year for all students, faculty, and staff.

From that small beginning, the program has grown to the point that in September of 1999 603 members of the class of  ’03 (52%) participated in this year’s Frosh Trip Program and over 50% of all currently enrolled undergraduates have participated in some form of Outdoor Action activity through trips, training programs, or on-campus events throughout the year. Currently there are 300 undergraduate and graduate students who are involved with the program as leaders.

2. Outdoor Action Program Goals

 The Outdoor Action Program utilizes the small group wilderness experience and other experiential learning activities as a vehicle for encouraging individual growth through personal discovery, community discovery, and discovery of the wilderness environment.

1. Personal Discovery

The Outdoor Action Program provides participants the opportunity to lean about themselves through challenging group wilderness experiences. Participants experience

 Facing and dealing with challenges with the help of others

Leading to the development of

2. Wilderness Discovery

The wilderness setting serves as a foundation for personal and group discovery. Through the small group wilderness setting, the Outdoor Action Program provides a positive foundation for personal and group discovery. Individuals learn how to travel comfortably and safely through the wilderness and become competent wilderness users. The wilderness provides and educational environment that allows participants to develop a personal awareness and respect for the natural world and to become effective stewards of our wilderness heritage.

3. Community Discovery

Through a variety of experiential learning activities, Outdoor Action provides the focus for creating new communities and enhancing existing communities. Both on campus, in the greater Princeton area, and in the wilderness, the Outdoor Action experience allows people to experience what a community is at its fullest potential—trust, friendship, cooperation, self-sacrifice, mutual respect, leadership and followership, learning and teaching. The unique context of Outdoor Action enables participants to rely upon others and in turn be relied upon building trusting relationships that often last long beyond the program. The shared responsibility fostered by the Outdoor Action experience allows for accomplishments beyond what can be attained by an individual. The mutual interdependency created especially in the wilderness environment, leads to the development of a strong, supportive community.

4. Service

Outdoor Action enhances the lives of urban youth in the new Jersey area through innovative experiential and adventure-based activities that instill self-confidence and build self-esteem. Utilizing the leadership and outdoor skills of trained Outdoor Action Leaders, the program provides a unique opportunity for Princeton University students to volunteer in meaningful ways that impact the lives of children. 

The original proposal for Outdoor Action, written in 1973 by Steve Boehlke ’70, then Assistant Dean of Students, still clearly articulates the goals of the Outdoor Action Program and how the program has supported the mission of the University for the past twenty-five years.

“This proposal is prompted by a continuing need for new and innovative ways to facilitate interaction and increase communication among diverse members of the University community. The context of an Outdoor Action program encourages a person to open himself [herself] and share with others in a setting, which is supportive of failure as well as success. Such a setting may be found in a classroom, on the athletic field, or perhaps in a dormitory room. But the kind of total involvement required of participants in a challenging outdoor adventure, which demands group cooperation and individual determination, is difficult to replicate in the academic setting of the campus.

I. Purpose

II. Specific Objectives

One of the major issues that is raised regarding student residential life at Princeton is fragmentation. The increase in size and diversity at Princeton has resulted in an increase in the number of students who feel isolated and unsupported. With the development of the residential college system, there is a greater separation than ever before between underclassmen and upperclassmen. Undergraduates and graduate students are isolated from each other, and students rarely meet with faculty or staff except in formal settings. With the expansion of the undergraduate population as part of the implementation of the Wythes Report, there is potential for even greater fragmentation. Outdoor Action is an effective means of stimulating interaction between all of these populations. Incoming students meet upperclass leaders on their Frosh Trip, and trips throughout the year are a mixture of all classes, graduate students, and staff. In this way Outdoor Action provides valuable role modeling and mentoring between different groups on campus. The Outdoor Action Program provides an excellent vehicle for integrating individuals into campus life. Participants put the matter in the following ways:

Along with this increased interaction, numerous OA participants report that they find Outdoor Action Programs to be extremely helpful in reducing the stress found within academic life at Princeton. Along with these important educational goals, OA also provides opportunities for the following: the learning of new skills and development of new interests that enhance the participants’ appreciation of the wilderness, and an increase in awareness of the environment and ecological concern.

3. The Outdoor Action Model

In the Outdoor Action Program, students in groups of 6-10 engage in multi-day wilderness activities with 2-3 experienced leaders. OA places individuals into a group setting where, faced with personal and group challenges in a supportive framework, the participants stretch themselves beyond their previously established limits. The wilderness setting does a great deal to enhance the potential for personal development (see Appendix 5 for description of a general OA wilderness program). The trips provide a simplified environment where the daily concerns are traveling, keeping warm, eating, sleeping, and enjoying the companionship of the other group members. The results of the program (as indicated in some of the participant responses) are many.

Peer to Peer Leadership Model

One of the most effective parts of Outdoor Action is the program-wide emphasis on peer leadership. On trips student leaders are responsible for teaching and facilitating growth for a group of their peers. In the Leader Training Program new student leaders are trained by Leader Trainers, juniors and seniors who have demonstrated their mastery of outdoor skills, teaching, and group facilitation. They take on the incredibly challenging role of training new students and serve as valuable role models.

4. Impact of the Outdoor Action Program

5. Environmental Stewardship

Environmental stewardship is a fundamental value in all Outdoor Action activities. Students who experience living in and with the outdoors, come to recognize the need for preservation of the wilderness. On every trip, leaders teach Leave No Trace camping, stressing how each person’s actions can have a positive or negative effect on the environment. Leaders reinforce that the same issues of preserving and conserving in the outdoors relate whether students have a positive or negative effect on their dormitory. On many trips, groups perform special service projects such as trail clean-ups. With this new understanding of the environment, students grow more sensitive to issues of conservation on campus, including waste reduction, recycling, and energy conservation. OA has made a difference in the number of Princeton students who choose to pursue both academic subjects relating to the environment and environmental careers.

6. OA Program Participation Growth

While, Outdoor Action has, from its inception, been open to all members of the University, it has primarily served undergraduates. Over the past eighteen years the participation in Outdoor Action Programs has increased dramatically. As you can see, since 1981 the number of programs has increased by 500%, the number of participants has increased by 790%, and the number of student leaders on trips has increased by 565%. During that period 28,963 students have participated (some repeatedly) and 5,202 student leaders. To date Outdoor Action has logged over 2,100,000 hours of participation (see Table 1 and Chart 1).[3] These figures demonstrate how Outdoor Action is playing a significant role in the lives of undergraduates at Princeton University. What is also important to note is that over the past eighteen years the breadth activities has increased as well as the diversity of participants to include more students of color, graduate students, faculty, and staff.

A summary of the events and participation levels from September 1981 through June of 2000 is shown in below in Table 1. This includes all OA activities, trips, training programs, workshops, and presentations. A detailed breakdown of OA activities by type of activity and by population is shown in Appendix 2.

Academic Year

# of Events

Part. #

Ldr #

Total #

Part Days

Ldr Days

Total Days

Part Hrs

Ldr Hrs

Total Hrs

1981 - 1982











1982 - 1983











1983 - 1984











1984 - 1985











1985 - 1986











1986 - 1987











1987 - 1988











1988 - 1989











1989 - 1990











1990 - 1991











1991 - 1992











1992 - 1993











1993 - 1994











1994 - 1995











1995 - 1996











1996 - 1997











1997 - 1998











1998 - 1999











1999 – 2000












# of Events

Part. #

Ldr #

Total #

Part Days

Ldr Days

Total Days

Part Hrs

Ldr Hrs

Total Hrs

Totals =











Table 1 – OA Program Participation

Chart 1 – OA Participation Growth

7. Outdoor Action Activities

Frosh Trip Program

The Frosh Trip Program has become an essential vehicle for orienting new students to Princeton. Each year over half of the incoming class has their first exposure to university life through the Frosh Trip. The Frosh Trip provides an important transition experience from home and high school to college life. By helping build friendships among new classmates and upper-class leaders, the Frosh Trip experience eases this transition. Students report that they feel much more comfortable on campus and more able to focus on academics in the first semester than they would if they had not participated. By bringing together entering students from multiple geographic areas and cultures who will live in different Residential Colleges, Frosh Trip participants expand their range of social contacts and campus support. The Outdoor Action Frosh Trip Program is the largest wilderness orientation program in the country based on participant-days. The Frosh Trip began in 1974 and since then 9,421 first-year students and 2,341 student leaders have participated. The growth in the Frosh Trip is show below in Table 2 and Chart 2. For the past four years over 50% of each incoming class has participated. Here are just a few of the overwhelmingly positive comments about the Frosh Trip experience.

The Outdoor Action Program is the single most effective socially-oriented program that Princeton offers with regard to the adjustment of new students and the opportunity, throughout one’s Princeton experience, to meet other Princetonians.

               – Ryan Salvatore ’02

I have only been at this University for a few months, but I already call it home. This is due in large part to Princeton University’s Outdoor Action Program. Being a part of the Freshmen Trip this summer helped ease a lot of the uncertainty and confusion that accompany such an overwhelming transition, as the one from high school to college usually is. My leaders helped me feel comfortable not only in a backwoods setting, but also among eight complete strangers. With the pressure of what to wear and who to talk to out of the way, I was able to settle into myself with ease and get to know eight great people.

               – Anna Evans ’03

My first encounter with Princeton Outdoor Action was my Freshman Trip. Going in, I honestly had no idea of what type of people would join me at Princeton, how I should act, and whether or not the school was truly a good fit for me. From Day One, I realized that I had made the correct choice, for not only had I formed a bond with nine other students, I had already in a sense oriented myself to Princeton life through my leaders guidance and felt that my adjustment to campus life was that much smoother.

               – Brandon Hall ’02

The Frosh Trip Program is a 6-day wilderness experience for entering students before Orientation Week. Each group is made up of ten entering students and two OA leaders. The group spends six intensive days together, backpacking, canoeing, backpacking and canoeing, or backpacking and rock climbing. The nature of group travel in the wilderness presents challenges that require cooperation and effective group interaction. OA leaders model and facilitate an open and supportive group environment. The result is a cohesive unit that provides stability for the incoming students. These students begin Princeton with less anxiety and disorientation than those who do not participate in the trip. They begin the year with some friendships already formed, which they can rely on in the first stressful weeks of a totally new environment. These students also gain a perspective on Princeton from the upperclass students who are their leaders.

As part of the trip OA leaders provide important information to incoming students about life on campus. Recent research shows that the Frosh Trip has a positive impact on reducing inappropriate stereotypes about alcohol consumption on campus.1 As part of the Trustees Alcohol Initiative, OA offers a special one-day training for OA Leaders to help leaders address critical orientation issues such as alcohol, diversity, and being part of a community. In addition to the general goals of all Outdoor Action trips, the goals of the Frosh Trip Program are the following:

OA Frosh Trip Participation Summary


Class Of


Class Size

% of Class




































































































































































                              Table 2 – Frosh Trip Participation

Chart 2 – Frosh Trip Growth

Trips Program

During the year OA runs a variety of trip activities ranging from one-day activities over weekends to multi-day trips over fall break, intersession, and spring break. These trips allow students to take a break from the academic demands of Princeton and to be involved in positive social interactions that do not include alcohol. For students from far way, these trips offer an affordable alternative to going home. OA trips focus on building positive group cooperation and interaction, teaching students to take on active leadership roles within the group, teaching skills for living in the outdoors, and respect for the environment. Activities include backpacking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, cross-country skiing, winter camping, and natural history field trips. OA also offers trip services to specific groups on campus who wish to provide activities for their members. We have offered trips for the Center for Jewish Life, the Women’s Center, the International Students Association, and the Graduate School. The summary of trip participation is presented in Table 4. (For details by activity and population see Appendix 2 - OA Activity Summary 1981 - 2000).

Community Service Programs

 Since 1996 Outdoor Action has expanded the program to include community service activities. Utilizing the program’s special expertise in training student leaders and in providing adventure-based activities, OA has taken on a unique role in the community service landscape at Princeton. We are offer our own service programs and provide our unique adventure-based teaching skills to other service groups on campus to enhance their programs.

A new service program for 2000 is the Peace Camp Program. These middle-school students from Trenton participated in a weeklong conflict resolution program at Princeton-Blairstown Center in the summer of 1999. To continue their learning the students have been coming to the Outdoor Action Climbing Wall every two weeks to meet with OA Leaders and Princeton-Blairstown Center staff to. The program uses the challenges of rock climbing as a metaphor for the dealing with the challenges of living without violence.

OA also works with both Community House and the Student Volunteers Council through co-sponsored community service activities and training programs for student volunteers. For example, the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program from Community House brings their participants to the OA Climbing Wall. The challenge of climbing and belaying is a powerful metaphor for the type of trusting relationship that the Princeton students wish to develop with their younger sister or brother. This year Outdoor Action and Community House collaborated on a joint program called Freshmen-2-Freshmen that matches Princeton freshmen with Princeton high school freshmen in a four-year mentoring program. Outdoor Action provides monthly adventure-challenge activities to build positive teamwork between the mentor pairs. There is room for considerable expansion in the community service area for OA.

Training Programs

Outdoor Action offers a range of training courses and workshops throughout the year designed to teach appropriate skills for outdoor activities. The training events range from an evening workshop to a multi-day class and include such subjects as Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Outdoor Safety, Animal Tracking, River Rescue and others. Such courses teach new life-long recreational skills, promote a healthy lifestyle, and bring diverse members of the University community together. These programs also provide an excellent opportunity for OA leaders to further develop their teaching style and techniques. Intermediate level courses serve to train OA leaders to a higher skill level so that they can teach basic level courses to beginners. They also provide an excellent opportunity for OA leaders to further develop their teaching style and techniques.

Films and Speakers

Outdoor Action brings speakers, films and seminar programs to the campus that focus on wilderness activities and environmental issues. All of these programs provide both an educational component and an opportunity for social interaction among a diverse group of students, graduate students, faculty, and staff. Programs have included the Banff Mountain Film Festival, the Climb for Against the Odds climb for the Breast Cancer Fund, Wilderness Photography, Women Rock Climbers, Trekking in Nepal, and the American China Everest Expedition.

8. Outdoor Action Leader Training Program

The OA Leader Training Program is the most comprehensive student leadership development program on campus. OA is unique in college outdoor education programs in allowing all students to participate in the benefits of the leader training program. Students must complete an extensive training program that includes wilderness first aid, group facilitation skills, outdoor safety, leadership and group dynamics, and backcountry living skills. This is a hands-on, experientially-based training program that allows students to practice their leadership skills in the outdoors in a supervised setting. Students who participate in the program become role models for other students across the campus and utilize their OA training in other activities on campus. OA student leaders are active throughout campus using their leadership skills on varsity sports teams, student organizations, community service activities, as Resident Advisors, etc. The fact that almost half of the students who become involved in OA Leadership Training are students who had their first outdoor experience with the OA Frosh Trip demonstrates how effective the role modeling of OA leaders is for new students. Many leaders use their skills to work in outdoor education during the summer and after Princeton. OA leaders have been instructors at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and at Outward Bound Schools across the country. The ripple effects of the OA Leader Training Program to other parts of campus life cannot be overstated. Students consistently report that the OA leadership experience has been one of the most important parts of their Princeton education (see Appendices 3 & 4 for additional student comments):

In evaluation of my past four years at Princeton, I would attribute the greater part of my personal growth and leadership development to the Outdoor Action Program. Outdoor Action provides a type of training which would otherwise be unavailable on campus: positive character building through leadership training. While organizations such as the Undergraduate Student Government, the Student Volunteers Council, and various sports teams acknowledge the importance of leadership experiences, they do not necessarily actively train and evaluate their participant’s skills in-group dynamics. As a Frosh Trip Leader, a member of the OA Executive Committee, and a leader trainer, I have learned how to build a student’s self-confidence, work cohesively with people of all ages and backgrounds, and, at the same time, maintain connections with underclassmen.

                – Hayley Hawes ’00

The OA leader education program is truly outstanding. The skills it teaches are truly life skills. First aid and safety, group dynamics, and outdoor survival are personal skills that I will prize forever. My experience as an OA leader has greatly facilitated that most important step in becoming a true gentleman: moving from student to teacher.

               – Drew Dillman ’01

I have made it through seven OA trips, four of them as a leader. Prior to my Frosh Trip, I had never been camping before. Now I am searching for outdoor education jobs and planning a through-hike of the Appalachian Trail in the summer of 2001. I have more self-confidence, more initiative, more determination. But I also have become more sensitive to others, more flexible, more compassionate and understanding. I can say without hesitation that all of all my experiences at Princeton in the last three and a half years, my participation in OA has done the most to make me a better person.

               – Bryan Seeley ’00

Leading turned out to be an extremely valuable experience for me. I had never led a group of students my own age before. On my Frosh Trip, I had to lead a group of 10 freshmen, who were only 1-2 years younger than me. And it was great! They respected my decisions as a leader, and did everything they could to help. And I owe a lot of the success to the leader preparation courses. They taught us how to deal and facilitate with groups and how to lead. And it really worked. I felt much more confident in the wild, and was able to share the wonderful experience of OA with 10 wonderful freshmen. The leading experience also greatly helped me in my sports career. I am a member of the women’s varsity fencing team, and I was Epée squad leader. Both the Women’s Captain and I are OA leaders, and we use many of the facilitation tactics [learned through OA] to lead the team. It is remarkable how much OA has helped us to become stronger people, and how we are constantly applying the skills we learn to everyday life.

                – Kristiina Hurme ’01

Leader Training Program Goals

Outdoor Action has identified the following goals for the Leader Training Program:

The Leader Training Program has been evaluated and improved over the past twenty-five years and provides student leaders with high quality training in wilderness skills, first aid and emergency care, and group dynamics. Each year about 100 students participate in the Leader Training Program. Recognizing the excellence of the training developed at Princeton, the Outdoor Action leaders’ manual was published nationally by Random House in 1998. The Backpacker’s Field Manual has sold more than 25,000 copies and is used by outdoor programs across the country.

One of the unique aspects of the OA Leader Training Program is that it is open to anyone interested in leading OA trips or developing their leadership skills. Most college programs select applicants first and then train them. By having this more open structure, many more students can benefit from the leadership development experience offered by Outdoor Action and as a result we have a much larger pool of students leaders. This larger pool allows us to take over half of the incoming class on the annual Frosh Trip.

Leader Training Program Requirements

The requirements for Basic Wilderness Leader are the following:

The Leader Training Course is a unique experiential learning environment. Each day of the trip two participants are selected as Leaders-of-the-day and are responsible for leading the rest of the group under the watchful eye of the experienced Leader Trainers. Throughout the day the Leader Trainers introduce a variety of simulation activities from a lost camper to a simulated broken leg or homesick first-year student. The Leaders-of-the-day must react to these situations as if they were real and in doing so practice the judgment and leadership skills they will need for future trips. Daily debriefing helps all of the prospective leaders gain insight into the dynamic nature of leadership in the outdoors.

Prospective leaders are evaluated throughout the process and given constructive feedback about skill areas for development. Both written and practical tests of first aid and CPR must be passed. At the end of the Leader Training Course, students are ranked as Assistant Leaders, Co-Leaders, or Primary Leaders based on their knowledge and experience. In most cases students start as Assistant Leaders. These students are paired on a trip with a more experienced Primary Leader and continue learning through an on-trip apprenticeship process.

Leadership Training continues throughout the student’s involvement with Outdoor Action. After each trip students are debriefed by Program Staff and each student evaluates his or her co-leader. Based on these discussions and evaluations the OA Program Staff and the Leader Training Committee make decisions about the appropriate Leader Ranking for the student.

9. OA Develops New Program Areas to Contribute to Campus Life

The Outdoor Action staff have continue to “push the envelope” to find ways to further the goals of Princeton University by developing innovative programs that utilize student leaders. Here are a few programs developed by which utilize the particular strengths of the program, its staff, and the student leaders to address important University initiatives:

These programs are positive contributions that Outdoor Action is making to the lives of students in campus. At the same time, these valuable programs have required the commitment of significant additional staff time. In many ways Outdoor Action continues to be an underutilized resource at Princeton with increased support, OA could provide other valuable experiences and leadership training for undergraduates.

10. Support for the Program

The impact of Outdoor Action is experienced not only by students but also by faculty, staff, alumni, and parents. Here are some comments from parents and alumni that reflect on how this program has changed the lives of Princeton students.

My daughter. Holly, Princeton 2000, had her first Princeton experience with the Outdoor Action Frosh Trip. Since then she has participated in many OA activities, rising to become the trainer of group leaders and a member of their executive board. At the recent parents’ fund-raiser weekend in October, several freshman parents came to Holly, my wife Pam and myself telling us how much their son or daughter enjoyed their Freshman Trip with Holly as their group leader and how this was a fabulous start to their Princeton experience.

I grew up participating in sports. It taught me how to get along with others, deal with adversity, and pull together as a group to experience the thrill of victory.

Holly as well played varsity soccer and volleyball in high school and some club sports at Princeton, but it is in OA she has found her main interest outside her academics. There are parallels between OA and sports. There are physical demands requiring conditioning. There is great camaraderie. Adversities come up which must be overcome; but most of all it’s an avenue for young people to have a great Princeton experience outside of academic life, much like sports provide.

               – Alan Markovitz - Class of ’00 parent

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

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

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.

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

11. Program Standards and Accreditation

Along with the significant growth in the Outdoor Action Program over the last eighteen years the field of outdoor education has also matured. Today, as in many other fields, the issue of safety and risk management are of critical importance. As a result, the outdoor education field has developed a set of standards of operation that define acceptable practice for program operation. There are now documented policies and procedures for all of the activities that OA engages in (backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, winter camping, etc.). The current direction for outdoor education programs is to validate that the program is operating with these accepted standards by going through an accreditation process. The Association of Experiential Education (AEE) is the organization that accredits outdoor programs. Since college and university outdoor programs rely on student leaders rather than professional outdoor educators accreditation provides crucial documentation of best practice. It is imperative that we provide both the highest quality of training and the best ongoing supervision of student leaders in order to operate within the nationally accepted standards.

A number of university outdoor programs have already become accredited including Brown, Cornell, Harvard, and the University of New Hampshire and others are in the process. The process of accreditation involves outside experts in the field visiting the program to carefully scrutinize the program activities, training, curriculum, equipment, record keeping, safety practices, etc. in order to determine if the program is operating at the national standard. The staffs of Outdoor Action and the Princeton-Blairstown Center recommend that both OA and the programs at the Princeton-Blairstown Center be accredited. Accreditation will provide an important external review of the program and will serve to both improve and document the quality of our practice to the accepted national standards, which is extremely important for risk management purposes for both Princeton-Blairstown Center and Princeton University. Princeton-Blairstown Center and OA have begun preparing for accreditation by developing and documenting our policies and procedures and by making sure that they are up to acceptable standards of care.

12. Interdepartmental Interaction

Outdoor Action is a truly eclectic program. OA interacts provides services to number of areas within the University. OA offers special trips for groups on campus including the Graduate College, the Center for Jewish Life, and the Women’s Center. Outdoor Action offers wilderness first aid and CPR courses for graduate students in many of the field sciences including Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. OA activities and student leaders have been used by residential colleges, the Athletic Department, academic departments, and student organizations.

13. Outdoor Action Resources & Facilities

Outdoor Action operates a number of facilities on campus both for storage and for campus and community service programming.

14. Outdoor Action Services

In addition to trips, training programs, and equipment rental, Outdoor Action provides a variety of services to the University community.

15. Program Budget

The current annual Outdoor Action budget is $292,799. This includes the Frosh Trip Program, staff salaries, and trips during the year. The University allocation for Outdoor Action operating expenses has remained functionally at the same level for the past eighteen years (with annual increases for inflation and staff salary increases). The current allocation is $48,060 broken down into $31,180 for 50% of the salary and benefits of the OA Director, $13,500 for annual operating expenses and $3,380 for insurance and maintenance on the two OA vans. The University currently contributes 16.4% of the overall program budget. The remaining 83.6% of the budget is paid for primarily from student fees and from some alumni donations.


Trip fees are set to cover food, transportation, and equipment rental costs. The fees are inexpensive to allow participation by students with diverse financial situations. For example, a four-day backpacking trip costs $95.00 per person.

Example:  4-Day Backpacking Trip Budget

Average Direct Costs:




Gas & Tolls


Trip Equipment


Van Rental




Total Direct Costs


Average Indirect Costs:




Staff Expense


Leader Training


Additional Equipment


Total Indirect Costs


Average Total Costs of Trip


Average Direct Costs per Person


Average Indirect Costs per Person


Total Costs per Person


Fee Charged per person


Number on Trip


Total Income


Direct Costs Loss


Total Costs Loss


Table 3

Below is the summary data for each program activity area for Outdoor Action (not including Frosh Trip and Community Service activities). This table below shows the income and direct costs. The accumulated trip income just about covers the direct costs but does not cover any indirect costs.

Trips Budget Summary

Activity Area


% of Total










Rock Climbing












Leader Training






First Aid


















Table 4

Frosh Trip

The Outdoor Action Frosh Trip is the largest wilderness orientation program in the country based on participant days. As you can see from the table below, OA’s fee per person per day is similar to that of other Ivy League institutions.

Comparison with Other Ivy League Frosh Trip Programs

















Program Length








Participant Days
























Table 5

The Frosh Trip income each year from participant fees covers the direct costs of the Frosh Trip such as food, travel expenses, permits, etc. However, the indirect costs such as percentage of salary and benefits of the Director and the Program Coordinator are not covered by the fees or entirely covered by the current level of University funding.

Financial Aid support is also an important issue for the Frosh Trip Program to continue to be accessible to all students regardless of their financial aid status. Currently, OA receives an allocation of $9,500 from the Financial Aid Office. OA contributes an additional $5,500 to provide trip scholarships. At this level of aid support, OA is only able to offer financial aid students 50% of the level of aid that they are receiving from the University (see Appendix 1). In 1999 a number of financial aid students cancelled their participation because the amount of aid provided was insufficient.

16. Alumni Fund Raising

Since 1988 Outdoor Action has been raising funds from alumni through targeted outreach. There are over 9,000 alumni(ae) participants of the program and over 1,900 alumni leaders. The primary groups that we solicit donations from are former leaders and parents of current leaders. Two major alumni newsletters (Tiger Trails) are published each year, one in the fall and one in the spring. The fall newsletter corresponds with our phone telethon in which current student leaders call over 500 alumni(ae) leaders in a four-night telethon. The following tables show the expansion of the OA development efforts over the last twelve years.

Membership Dues



Total Dues


Grand Total







































































Table 6

Gifts to Endowment by Year


Gift Amount

Matching Gift Amount


















































Table 7

Gifts to Endowment by Specification

Gift Specification

Gift Amount

Matching Gift Amount






25th Anniversary




Capital Campaign




Climbing Wall




Climbing Wall Fund








General Endowment




Program Coordinator




Joe Palmer Fund




Kayaking Program




Kevin Callaghan Fund




Leader Training




Leadership Project








Zander Scott Fund







Table 8

Financial Needs

Over the past eighteen years Outdoor Action has kept the cost of trips low so that all students could afford to participate. Fees for OA activities have always been based on direct cost of the trip rather than on the indirect costs of operating the program (such as staff salary and administrative expenses). If trip fees were structured to cover all indirect costs, most students simply could not afford to participate.

Research into student participation in Outdoor Action shows a broad range of participation. For example, of 605 students participating in the 1999 Frosh trip Program 39% were on financial aid, just slightly below the 42% average for the incoming class.[4] This has been an important operating principle of the program that we continue to feel is essential. All Princeton students, regardless of their financial situation should be able to participate in the leadership development and personal growth that is offered through Outdoor Action programs.

As costs have risen, it has become more and more difficult to provide a quality experience without charging students an exorbitant rate. It is the belief of the Outdoor Action and Princeton-Blairstown Center staff that there is room to increase the trip fees by a small amount, but that raising the fee to the full direct cost is not in the best interest of Princeton students or the University unless significant financial aid resources are also provided so that all Princeton students can continue to participate.

17. Alumni Programs

Since 1985, Outdoor Action has offered several special events each year for alumni and their families. The purpose of these programs is to bring together alumni from different classes in an exploration of the wilderness combined with an educational program. Each year OA offers activities for Alumni Day in February and activities for alumni and families during Reunions. The opportunity for current students to mix with alumni has been a very powerful community building experience. Outdoor Action plans to expand this interaction whenever possible by scheduling alumni activities over school breaks so that current students can also participate. Alumni trips have included Backpacking in Yellowstone, Sea Kayaking the Maine Coast, Whitewater Rafting on the Snake River, Sailing & Oceanography in the Caribbean, and the Mt. Princeton Climb. Programs are developed by the Program Director and the Board of the Friends of Outdoor Action, an alumni support group. These trips and programs provide some additional revenue for Outdoor Action. They also provide an ongoing connection with alumni to encourage annual support of the program through donations to the Friends of Outdoor Action (see the Friends of Outdoor Action below).

18. Outdoor Action Staffing

Program Director Position

When the Outdoor Action Program was first started in 1974, recent graduates were hired part-time to provide low-level supervision. As the program expanded, a regular position of Outdoor Action Program Director was created within the Dean of Students Office. From 1981 through 1985 this was a full-time position focusing solely on Outdoor Action. Starting in 1985 the current Program Director was made Assistant to the Dean of Students and given new responsibilities resulting in a decrease in OA administrative time to 75% FTE. This situation continued until about 1992 when additional duties in the Dean of Students Office were added to the Director of Outdoor Action. At that point the balance of work was approximately 50% Outdoor Action and 50% Dean’s Office duties.

This reduction in administrative FTE allocation for Outdoor Action took place at the same time that OA exhibited significant growth both in participation and in the scope of the program. It also took place while the field of outdoor education developed national standards for operation that increased the need for supervision of student leaders, expanded the needs for leadership training, equipment supervision and maintenance, etc. in order to provide safe programs. Over a ten-year period the need for staff time increased while the actual allocation to the program was significantly reduced.

In September of 1996 the administration of the Outdoor Action was shifted from the Dean of Student Life Office to the Princeton-Blairstown Center. From November of 1996 until December of 1998 the OA Program Director was located in Clio Hall, separate from the rest of the Princeton-Blairstown Center staff. During this period the Program Director was spending 100% of his time strictly on OA activities. In December of 1998 the Director was moved to the Armory and began doing specific work for the Princeton-Blairstown Center. Currently the time is split about 90/10 between OA activities and other Princeton-Blairstown Center-OA projects such as community service. The Director’s responsibilities can be divided into the following general areas:

  1. Programming for the Frosh Trip: The Frosh Trip is a mammoth project, all aspects of which are planned and supervised by the program director. Planning for the trip begins in earnest in March with recruitment of leaders for the upcoming September's trip. In May, letters describing the program and applications are prepared and mailed to all entering freshmen. From June through August there are extensive preparations to be done, which include trip planning, transportation logistics, menu planning and food purchase, applicant screening, leader assignment, and a multitude of details. Preparation for the trip requires more than full-time work for several weeks. During the trip the director is responsible for overseeing the entire program and handling any problems or emergencies.
  1. Trip Planning and Logistics: Trips are planned by activity and location. Leaders with appropriate training must be obtained and instructed on what to plan for on the trip. Trip participants sign up and must be screened in some instances. Transportation and equipment arrangements are made. Trip fees are collected and money for food and transportation costs is distributed to the leaders. While the trip is in progress the director is responsible for handling any problems or emergency situations that might develop.
  1. Development of Activities and Training Programs: Development of a new activity involves detailed investigation by the director into the skills needed for safe participation in the activity, equipment needed, and locations for the activity. Then training programs for leaders must be initiated. The development of new training events and programs involves research and curriculum development by the director and frequently the actual teaching responsibility.
  1. Training, Evaluations, and Supervision of Leaders: The director oversees the training of leaders to make sure that each person has the requisite skills and abilities to lead trips. The position involves direct teaching of leaders in such areas as Group Dynamics, Safety Management, Emergency Procedures, and in a variety of specific wilderness skills. Throughout the training process, the director evaluates the progress of each leader and makes the decision on when that person is qualified to lead. Once a person has become a leader they are supervised in their handling of their trip responsibilities.
  1. Teaching: In the responsibilities above, the issue of teaching is mentioned several times. It is a responsibility of sufficient important in the director’s position to mention separately. A great deal of time is spent teaching specific skills and topics to leaders and program participants. This teaching can be divided into actual teaching time and the pre-teaching research and curriculum development time.
  1. Budget and Financial Planning: The director oversees the program’s University accounts handling all income and expenditures. A checking account is also maintained at the United Jersey Bank to facilitate quick access to petty cash for trips. Long-term budget planning is handled by the director. General budget range is $30,000 - $40,000. Within this budget, the director is responsible for overseeing all program equipment. When old equipment must be replaced or new activity equipment purchased, the director is responsible for researching equipment to obtain high quality equipment at a reduced price.
  1. Work with Alumni: The director works the University Development Office and the Friends of OA on an annual fund raising campaign. Two alumni newsletters and published each your to maintain contact with former leaders, parents of current leaders, and other friends. An annual telethon in the fall raises both annual operating funds and endowment gifts. The director supervises grant proposals and solicitations to foundations and alumni donors. The director also develops several outdoor activities each year for alumni, which are designed to encourage alumni support and raise funds for the program.

Program Coordinator Position

In December of 1998 a full-time Program Coordinator position was created thanks to a $10,000 gift from a member of the Princeton-Blairstown Center Board and a matching gift from the Friends of Outdoor Action Board. This is the first staff addition to the program in 25 years. The arrival of the Program Coordinator has helped the Outdoor Action Program considerably in our ability to move closed to the expected national standards of care. However, it has had no impact on the work time required of the Program Director. Current hours worked for the ’99 - ’00 academic year have followed the same pattern as previous years. The Program Coordinator position is primarily providing supervision of student leaders that could not be done in previous years but should have been should have for safety and educational purposes. Even with the second full-time position, OA is not adequately staffed for the volume of activity. Major projects such as program accreditation efforts have not been completed since there is insufficient staff. In order to properly supervise and train over 250 student leaders, maintain Outdoor Action facilities and equipment an additional Program Coordinator position is required. The following is a partial list of the responsibilities of the Program Coordinator:

19. Program Organization

One of the fundamental goals of the Outdoor Action Program is student leadership development. In order to extend this principle to the organizational aspects of the program, the organizational structure of the OA Program was restructured five years ago to create more opportunities for OA Leaders to be directly involved with the administration and direction of the program. In essence, the idea was to bring the OA model of peer leadership full circle so that student leaders had an active role in all parts of the program. Students discuss issues such as safety management, leader training policies, and budget prioritization. This model, based on a similar approach at Dartmouth College has proved to be very successful.

A committee structure was developed which provides student leaders with greater responsibility for the planning and implementation of Outdoor Action activities. Each of the subcommittees focuses on different aspects of the OA program and are responsible for such areas as trip planning, training, and equipment for that activity. The committees make recommendations to the Program Director and the Program Coordinator, who are responsible for establishing goals and directions for each of the subcommittees. Subcommittees meet with the OA staff on a regular basis to discuss ongoing goals and projects. The two co-chairs of each subcommittee serve on the OA Executive Committee, which makes recommendations to the Program Director and the Program Coordinator on long term planning and policy issues for Outdoor Action.

Executive Committee

The OA Executive Committee is made up of the Program Director, the Program Coordinator, and the chairs of each of the subcommittees. The Executive Committee discusses priorities and goals for new and existing programs within Outdoor Action. The Executive Committee presents its recommendations to the Program Director, who has the final authority on all aspects of the operation of Outdoor Action.

As available, a discretionary fund will be allocated to the Executive Committee by the OA staff. Discretionary money will be distributed to the various subcommittees and OA projects through a budget review process. Each subcommittee or project submits its request to the Executive Committee, which will evaluate and prioritize the requests and make a recommendation for final approval by the Program Director.

Areas for the Executive Committee include the following:

The Executive Committee meets biweekly throughout the year. All subcommittee chairs must attend or send a representative from their subcommittee. Each meeting’s agenda will be set at least one week before the meeting. During the course of the year, each subcommittee will be asked to run a larger discussion of their area as part of the regular agenda. Meetings will also include short subcommittee updates.

20. OA Leadership in College Outdoor Programming

Outdoor Action has been a pioneering program for Universities across the country. OA has one of the largest Frosh Trip Programs in the United States based on the number of participant*days. Outdoor Action also has one of the largest groups of trained student leaders. The OA Leader Training Program has been developed extensively over the past twenty-five years and is used as a model for similar programs across the country. OA has been instrumental in the development of similar programs at Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, and other schools. In the spring of 1990, Outdoor Action sponsored the first Ivy League Outdoor Orientation Program Conference, bringing leaders from different schools together to share outdoor leadership skills. The OA Program Director has given numerous presentations and workshops about the OA program at conferences around the country. Numerous schools and organizations have solicited input from Outdoor Action about how to develop their program. Visitors have come from as far away as Hong Kong to learn about the Outdoor Action Program. The Backpacker’s Field Manual, written by Program Director Rick Curtis, is used by university and professional outdoor education programs across the country as a staff field manual. The Outdoor Action Web site is used by college and outdoor programs around the world as a source of information.

21. Friends of Outdoor Action

In 1985 an OA Alumni Advisory Committee was initiated to help chart future directions for the program. The University officially recognized the group as the Friends of Outdoor Action in 1988. Since its recognition as a Friends group, the Board of the Friends of Outdoor Action have raised money to support the program through yearly membership dues and have coordinated the development of alumni outdoor programs. Annual membership dues help provide additional resources to support Outdoor Action activities on campus such as leader training and trip scholarships. Annual membership mailings are sent out twice a year to all OA leaders and previous friends (see Appendix 8 for a sample).

The Friends of Outdoor Action is managed by an Executive Board. This group meets three times each year to discuss the growth and development of the program. There are four sub-committees of the board, which focus on particular issues.

The current board members are:

Chris Beeson '99

Peter Bregman '89

Andy Brown '69

Katherine Byers ’00

John Danielson '58

Philo Elmer '69

Keith Ely '79

John Gager Faculty

Jim Garrett '65

Jason Gold ’81

Eleanor Harrison '92

Dave Irving '58

Dan Kastelman '85

Bill Katen-Narvell '76

Kevin McGuire '93

Janine McGuire '92

Torrey McMillan '96

Grace Offutt '91

Ted Polubinski '92

Spencer Reynolds '92

Josh Roman '97
Laura Scott ’98

Ed Seliga '75

Sue Suh '96

Chris VanBuren '84

John Page Williams '65

Dave Wilson ‘53 *68

Joe Woods '57

22. Climbing to New Heights Campaign

To maintain the Outdoor Action Program as one of the premiere University outdoor education programs, The Friends of Outdoor Action initiated the Climbing to New Heights Campaign. The campaign is designed to build an endowment for the program with funds dedicated for scholarships, leadership development, environmental education, and equipment. For additional information see Appendix 8 the Outdoor Action Case Statement.

23. Future Program Development

 In looking back over the past twenty-five years there has been a phenomenal amount of growth within the program, and Outdoor Action continues to grow through the development of new activities, services, and educational programs. The projected development of OA over the next ten years is to take the excellent base already established and expand the populations served by the program, including more graduate students, faculty, and staff. This expansion will make Outdoor Action truly a University-wide program with educational benefits for all involved. In this setting, the previously discussed goals of the program will be operating in a situation where students, faculty, and staff can interact and share their knowledge and experiences in an informal way. The educational benefits to all involved are obvious. The Outdoor Action Program can be a vehicle for developing a sense of “total community” into Princeton.

Over the past year as part of the Princeton-Blairstown Center Strategic Planning Process a strategic plan has been developed for the Outdoor Action Program for the next five years.

Strategic Goals

As the Outdoor Action Program celebrates our twenty-fifth year of providing learning and growth opportunities to Princeton University and surrounding community we will focus our efforts on these areas:

Objectives and Strategies

I. Leadership

Develop and sustain strong leadership in the Friends of Outdoor Action and administrative and program staff to ensure the sound guidance, development, and management of the Outdoor Action Program.


Tier 1

  1. Recruit, train, and retain Board members with a strong commitment to the mission of OA.
  2. Further diversify Board composition (seasoned corporate, agency/constituent, ethnic/gender/age.
  3. Recruit, train and retain staff with a strong commitment to the mission of Outdoor Action.
  4. Recruit a diverse staff.
  5. Define and initiate staff development program.

Tier 2

  1. Define long-term staffing needs for Outdoor Action.

II. Program 

Provide enriching educational and personal growth experiences through outdoor and adventure-challenge activities to members of the Princeton University community that focus on leadership and skill development, stewardship of the natural world, and community service.


Tier 1

  1. Develop and maintain policy and procedure manual, committee and review structure to ensure safe programs by 12/31/99.
  2. Initiate accreditation process with AEE by 12/31/99.
  3. Expand the impact of the OA Program through development of an innovative curriculum that addresses important campus life issues.
  4. Increase the participation of students of color in Outdoor Action activities and in the Outdoor Action Leader Training and Community Service Programs.
  5. Increase the numbers of students participating in and completing the OA Leader Training program to 120 each year.
  6. Provide ongoing educational and professional development programs and trainings to enhance the skills and experience of Outdoor Action Leaders.
  7. Provide annual activities for Princeton alumni that enhance connection with Princeton University, the Outdoor Action program and promote increased financial support for OA.

III. Development and Fund Raising

Increase fund raising and development results by expanding income from current supporters and capitalizing on potential new funding sources created by innovative, mission-focused program development, expanded volunteer leadership, enhanced marketing, and special opportunities including those presented by the relationship with Princeton University, special events, and Outdoor Action’s 25th anniversary.


Tier 1

  1. Increase annual giving income by at least 5% annually.
  2. Secure $300,000 in capital support by 7/1/02.
  3. Secure $200,000 in endowment support by 7/1/02.
  4. Expand solicitation to parents of Princeton University students who participate in Outdoor Action programs.

Tier 2

  1. Develop endowment for Outdoor Action supporting the Program Coordinator position, leadership training, and scholarships.
  2. Explore increased University support for program and leadership development.

IV. Property and Facilities

Develop, maintain and enhance Outdoor Action’s facilities, offices and physical program elements to provide excellent resources for our work with the campus community, alumni, and urban youth in the Princeton area.


Tier 1

  1. Improve the quality and expand the types of equipment items that Outdoor Action can provide to participants to ensure program accessibility for all socio-economic groups.
  2. Develop a comprehensive plan for regular replacement of capital equipment including vehicles, computers, and outdoor equipment.
  3. Develop a long-range plan for OA administrative office, equipment storage and educational space needs.
  4. Develop a long-range plan for campus-based experiential education facilities including the climbing wall and low ropes-adventure course.
  5. Prioritize capital expenditures with regard to property and equipment.

V. Support Organizations and External Relations 

Develop and enhance relationships with support and partner organizations including Princeton-Blairstown Center, Community House, and the Student Volunteers Council to maximize benefits for mission work and further professionalize Outdoor Action.


Tier 1

  1. Increase the utilization of the Princeton-Blairstown Center for OA programs to expand student knowledge and interest in PBC activities and staff positions.
  2. Increase participation of campus organizations, departments and staff in OA programs by 5% by 1/1/01.
  3. Develop and extend community and campus public relations, information, and awareness of OA; regularly improve and update OA website.
  4. Expand joint training of student leaders in Outdoor Action, Community House, and the Student Volunteers Council to provide a higher quality of community service to those we serve.
  5. Develop partnerships with innovative service agencies in other communities that engage Princeton University students with service and service learning activities during breaks and other periods.

VI. Finance and Administration

Develop effective and efficient administrative and financial support systems to ensure sound management practice and maximize the utilization of the Outdoor Action’s financial, personnel, and office resources and to strengthen Outdoor Action’s financial position to anticipate and better meet current and future program needs.


Tier 1

  1. Develop and initiate administrative and financial procedures for Outdoor Action by 12/30/99.
  2. Develop a Web-based sign-up and automated billing system for all Outdoor Action activities by 9/1/99
  3. Provide a planning tool by developing long-range (5-year) budget projections by 12/31/99.

Tier 2

  1. Evaluate the Outdoor Action’s investments to assure that they are invested in the most appropriate manner.  (Annual)


Appendix 1 – Frosh Trip
Appendix 2 – Trip Summary 1981 - 2000
Appendix 3 – Quotes from Participants
Appendix 4 – Leader Quotes
Appendix 5 – General trip description
Appendix 6 – OA Newsletters
Appendix 7 – Tiger Trails Alumni Newsletter
Appendix 8 – Outdoor Action Case Statement
Appendix 9 – The Effects of the Outdoor Action Frosh Trip on Freshmen's Adaptation to Princeton University: A Study of Pluralistic Ignorance, Senior Thesis in Psychology, Brian Wardwell, Princeton University, April 1999

[1] Proposal to form an Outdoor Action Program, memo to Dean of Students Adele Simmons, Steve Boehlke, Assistant Dean April, 1973

[2] The Effects of the Outdoor Action Frosh Trip on Freshmen's Adaptation to Princeton University: A Study of Pluralistic Ignorance, Senior Thesis in Psychology, Brian Wardwell, Princeton University, April 1999

[3] Outdoor programs categorize participation levels based on population*days (the numbers of people who participated in an activity multiplied by the number of days of the activity) and population*hours. These figures are used to include participation in activities that are less than a full day such as workshops and presentations.

[4] Data from Don Betterton in the Office of Financial Aid.