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What is an OP Student Trip Leader?

An Outdoor Programs volunteer trip leader is a student passionate about the outdoors who is willing to spend his/her time and energy helping other students engage in various outdoor experiences. Student trip leaders enjoy working with others and are competent in one or more outdoor activities. OP trip leaders receive satisfaction from sharing their knowledge, developing lasting friendships, and providing adventure, education, and discovery to the University community.

Student Trip Leader Responsibilities

Being an OP student trip leader comes with many responsibilities. Trip leaders are not only responsible for themselves, but the physical and emotional well being of others in dynamic outdoor environments. This responsibility requires a great deal of commitment, time, energy and patience. However, with that responsibility also comes a tremendous opportunity to learn about oneself, develop important leadership and life skills, create life-long friendships, and make connections with the natural world, all while having fun with fellow students in astounding outdoor settings.

Trip Leader Commitments

Trip leaders are expected to commit approximately 30 hours per month to trainings, activities and leadership development, as well as plan and lead a minimum of one overnight and two one-day trips per semester. Trip leaders also serve as OP and Campus Recreation ambassadors at a variety of events including local and regional conferences.

In addition, trip leaders are expected to obtain a minimum of Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder(preferred) medical training within their first year as a trip leader. Other certifications such as swiftwater rescue and avalanche safety are required to lead certain trips. Trip leaders that fullfill their commitments are eligible for certification course discounts.

All new/incoming trip leaders are required to attend the trip leader orientation and training trip over Labor Day weekend. 

How to apply 

Applications are accepted throughout the year and positions are filled as needed. Most hiring takes place towards the end of spring & fall semesters and prior to the start fall semester. Positions for incoming Freshman will be available starting in August with priority given to those that attend the Natural Connections course. Hiring may take place at anytime when needed. Selected candidates with an application on file will be contacted for an interview.

If you have questions about being a trip leader, you may contact Greg Davis, one of the OP Assistant Directors, at

Apply Here

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170 degreesPete: Trip Leader 2012-2014

"Many students do not graduate college saying they led others in the backcountry on their weekends and vacations. These trips have made me a unique individual professionally and gave me skills that cannot be taught in a classroom. Not to mention, bringing me to some of the most beautiful places I have been." 

170 degreesSydney: Trip Leader 2013-2015

"What I gained was so much more. The people I met will be my friends long past school and some of us have already been making plans to visit each other as we start venturing around the world. OP leaders aren’t close just because we have similar passions, but because of trust the OP cultivates between its trip leaders."

BeckyBecky: Trip Leader 2013-2016

"Well, in the least-cheesy way possible: the OP changed my life. It gave me direction, purpose, and taught me valuable skills that I'll be able to use both in and outside of the outdoor industry. Trip leaders need to know how to teach people, work with their peers and lead effectively as well as all the technical skills necessary to safely operate in the backcountry...I do think that my time at the OP helped me develop those interpersonal skills and better prepared me for whatever lies ahead in my future."