Western Outdoor Orientation Trips
Western Outdoor Orientation
Trips aims to support, enhance, and ease the transition into Western for first-year students through outdoor adventure!
What is WOOT?
Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT) provides a unique opportunity for incoming Western students to spend a week backpacking and exploring the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest with a group of fellow students prior to the beginning of their first quarter here at WWU. Harnessing the transformative power of the outdoors, WOOT offers an enhanced orientation experience in which students forge friendships, learn backcountry skills, gain mentors, and make incredible memories. WOOT leads to stronger and more meaningful connections that can contribute to an impactful and fulfilling Western Experience, boosting student’s academic success.
Is WOOT right for me?
Are you an incoming student? Then WOOT is right for you! Regardless of your prior outdoor experience or physical abilities, WOOT is designed for ALL levels of ability. Every trip involves a certain level of physical demand as students are responsible for carrying their own equipment as well as some of the group equipment and food. Upon registering you will be asked specific questions that assist us in ensuring that you are placed on a trip that meets your desired level of challenge. With regular physical activity leading up to the trip, you will have no problem thriving during your own WOOT Experience.
What does a typical day look like?
As a WOOTer, you can expect to rise early and have a nice cup of tea while listening to the woods coming alive around you. Your morning generally starts with a group game that gets your blood flowing and everyone laughing. Next, duties are split up to prepare for the day ahead. Some take down camp while others prepare a hearty breakfast.
As you hit the trail your group will spend the day hiking and exploring to your next destination. During this time you will get to know your group while taking in the beautiful surroundings including mountain streams, views of the San Juan Islands, towering firs, granite peaks, and magnificent glaciers looming in the distance. While on the trail there will be times to take breaks and soak it all in while also learning how to read maps, identify native plants, and connect with your fellow WOOTers through a variety of activities and reflections.
Rolling into camp brings a sense of familiarity as everyone begins to prepare for nightly activities. Once camp is set, everyone settles in for the night as the fire grows listening to stories from each other as well as your trip leaders about what has made their Western Experience so memorable.
Details for WOOT 2016
For the 1st year ever we will be offering the WOOT Experience to transfer students! Designed with you in mind, these sessions will be led by students who also started their time at Western as transfer students.
(All transfer student sessions begin at 5pm following the completion of your Transitions Session. Please ensure that you sign up for the same WOOT Session that matches the Transitions Session number that you anticipate signing up for. For example, if you sign up for Transitions Session 1, you would also sign up for WOOT Session 1.)
Running Start and Incoming Freshmen
For the 7th year we will be offering our traditional WOOT Experience the week prior to the Fall quarter beginning. As well, due to high demand for the WOOT Program, we will be offering additional sessions that sync up with the Summerstart Program.
(All of the following sessions begin at 2pm following the completion of your Summerstart Session. Please ensure that you sign up for the same WOOT Session that matches the SummerStart Session that you would like to participate in. For example, if you sign up for SummerStart Session 1, you would also sign up for WOOT Session 1.)
Past WOOT Participant Testimonials
- "This was an extremely worthwhile experience that I would recommend to anyone coming into college, regardless of whether they have an interest in outdoor activities. The focus was on group bonding rather than outdoor skills, and allowed our group to become a cohesive whole, accepting and supporting one another. Our friendships have translated well to college and allowed me to feel that I had friends and a support group when I first came here when I otherwise would have known no one. I still feel that I know and trust people from my outdoor orientation trip better than most anyone else on campus."
- "Going on a WOOT! Trip was incredibly valuable start to my Western experience. The trip helped me meet people and step outside my comfort zone and try things I normally wouldn't have. I also got to meet a diverse group of people, many of whom I probably wouldn't have met without going on the WOOT! trip."
- "WOOT! has definitely eased my nerves about starting college... and I feel safe because I will always have a strong base of friends at school who will be there for me... I loved our laughs and I love these people. I love WOOT! And I will be on many more trips with the Outdoor Center. I don't know what could be better."
- "I think WOOT! has given me not only a new group of friends before school even starts, but also the confidence and sense of self-worth that will help me make new friends and have a successful experience at Western."
- “I feel so lucky to have had this experience…Walking away from WOOT!, I have new friends, a desire to explore the Bellingham outdoors, a stronger love for the outdoors, a confidence going into my freshman year, and a plan to get more involved with the Outdoor Center”
Do I get early move-in to the dorms if I sign up for WOOT?
There is no early move-in option as most transfer students have off-campus housing arrangements.
Summerstart WOOT Sessions:
All incoming students who sign up for the Summerstart WOOT Sessions will have the ability to move in to the dorms on Saturday, September 17th. You will also be paired with another WOOT participant in the dorms for the first night of WOOT.
Traditional WOOT Sessions:
All incoming students who sign up for the Traditional WOOT Session will move in to your assigned dorm on Sunday September 11th.
What is a general itinerary?
Day 1: Arrival day on campus
Activities and preparations begin in the afternoon
Gear preparations, Campus Adventure Race, Group Dinner
Day 2: Departure to field
Final gear preparations, travel to backpacking location, begin hiking
Day 3-6: Backcountry Travel
Day 7: Hike out return to campus
Generally will arrive back to campus between 2-5pm
Drive back to campus, de-issue/clean group gear
Can I get on the same WOOT Trip as my roommate?
If you wish to be on the same trip as your assigned roommate it is up to you to coordinate what trip you will sign up for! When your register, in the additional comments, please state who your roommate will be and we will do the best we can to accommodate you!
What if I have never backpacked before?
No worries! Your trip leaders will teach you all the basic skills you will need to know to be comfortable in the outdoors. Based on your responses to the registration questionnaire, your trip leaders will be able to provide opportunity for you to succeed on any trip.
How much does each trip cost?
Depending on the trip, the costs will vary. We try to keep the cost as low as possible to reduce the financial burden and encourage enrollment for all who would like to participate in any WOOT Experience.
What all do I get with my registration fee?
The registration fee includes early move-in for freshmen and running start students, transportation, trip leaders, group gear and awesome food!
Do I need any special equipment?
The Outdoor Center will provide all the group camping equipment. You will need to bring a backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, headlamp and personal clothing. After registration you will receive a detailed equipment list outlining every item that we will provide as well as personal items that you will need for that trip. The Outdoor Center has a limited number of rental items. We ask that if you currently own any of the required items that you please provide them yourself to ensure that those who need the gear have access to it!
What kind of shape do I need to be in?
We will be physically active for 6 days, hiking with a 30-50 lb. backpack therefore conditioning before your trip will improve your experience. The trips vary in difficulty and based on your fitness level, you will be put on the best trip for you!
Who are the Trip Leaders going to be?
Your trip leaders consist of experienced trip leaders, who have worked extensively with college students in the outdoors. All of the leaders have wilderness first aid training and know how to have a good time in our amazing back yard of the Pacific Northwest. As well nearly all of your WOOT leaders have been past participants of the program!
How many people will be on my trip?
Generally the trips consist of 9 incoming students and 3 trip leaders. The maximum number of people allowed on any given trip is 12.
Can I bring my cell phone, ipod, iphone or personal computer?
Nope. But, there is no need to worry, you will have a great time outdoors getting to know your amazing WOOT crew!
What about a camera?
Certainly! One of the best parts about your WOOT Experience is being able to share your memories with family and friends. Given the variability in weather, we do not recommend brining anything fancy that may be damaged.
What happens in the case of an emergency on the trip?
Trip leaders are trained to handle any emergencies that may arise.
Will my family be able to contact me if there is an emergency at home?
Yes. If for any reason your family needs to get into contact with you, they will have the ability to contact the Outdoor Center and trip leaders will be notified. We utilize a two-way satellite communication devices that allows us to stay in contact with all of our groups while they are out in the field.
For all general inquiries about the WOOT Program
Stephen Magnuson, Outdoor Center Coordinator