Western Outdoor Orientation Trips offers a unique and fun opportunity for incoming students to spend a week backpacking and exploring the Pacific Northwest prior to the beginning of their first year at WWU. These trips are designed to help support and ease the transition into Western through developing meaningful connections, gaining a greater knowledge of Western culture and what to expect as a student, as well as learning new outdoor skills from your trip leaders, many of whom also began their Western Experience through WOOT!


These trips are designed for ALL levels of ability and we encourage anyone who is looking to come into Western with a strong support network to sign up! We often hear through stories how the relationships formed within the WOOT! Crews carry well beyond the initial trip and transpire throughout their entire Western Experience. If WOOT! sounds like a fit for you, registration opens in early May!




Here is what students have said about trips in the past: 


  • "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”


Who participates?

These trips are open to any first-year students coming into Western. Unfortunately at this time we do not offer this program for transfer students, but we are working on doing so in the future. 

What if I have never participated in any of these activities before?

Don’t worry, 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. The registration fee includes transportation, trip leaders, group gear and awesome food!

Do I need any special equipment?

The Outdoor Center will provide all the group camping equipment.  Generally you will need to bring a backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, headlamp and personal clothing. As each trip is unique, 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.

What kind of shape do I need to be in?

We will be physically active for 5 days, hiking with a 50-60 lb. backpack so conditioning for 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 instructors, guides and 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.

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 happens in the case of an emergency on the trip?

Trip leaders are trained to handle any emergency 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.