New Students

FOOT Frequently Asked Questions

What are the First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips?

The trip brings groups of new students together, led by trained, experienced upper-class leaders, many of whom went on trips their first year. The relationships formed on these trips often last throughout your four years of college and beyond.

What will I gain from this trip? 

These trips teach students to work together, combining a shared experience and the need to depend on each other into a bonding experience that nurtures close relationships not only between new students but also with their upper-class leaders. It's a great way to get to know new people in your class, get the inside scoop on life at Amherst before classes begin, as well as become close to an upperclassman who may become one of your good friends as well!

When do the trips leave and return to campus?

You will meet with your trips leaders early Thursday morning to pack all of your gear and food for the trips. All trips leave campus mid-morning Thursday, August 28th and will return to campus by noon Saturday, August 30th.

Do I need previous experience?

NO! FOOT trips cater to all levels of fitness and experience. FOOT trips intend to serve as a great introduction to backcountry travel for tyros and exciting challenges for grizzled trailhounds. A little something for everyone - it's the Amherst way.

Who should contact if I have a question about a trip?

You can contact the FOOT Coordinator, Jen Good-Schiff; as well as the Assistant FOOT Coordinator, Matthew Friedrich at foot@amherst .edu. Jen or Matthew will be back in touch with you shortly to follow up on your question(s). You may also contact Stacia Bourne, the Orientation Coordinator at We are all happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.

What equipment do I need to bring, and what is supplied?  

The FOOT program has sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and frame backpacks available to students. You are welcome to bring your own sleeping bag, sleeping pad and backpack. We supply all climbing gear and have harnesses, shoes, and helmets to borrow if needed. The FOOT program also supplies all tents, stoves and cookware, food and medical supplies for the trip groups. Students must bring their own footwear and clothing.

What have other students (FOOTies) said about their FOOT trips?

Besides the great academic departments at this school, the woods surrounding Amherst is definitely one of the greatest gems that this community has to offer. – Enrique Robles, 2017

These people could become your best friends. That is what happened to me. – Grace Nash, 2016

The connections and fun you have are what are most valuable. These are the memories that are going to stay with you for a lifetime and events that you’re going to gauge your Amherst experience on. – Kane Willis, 2015

As valuable and productive as the orientation events were, I feel like I gained something extremely valuable by being away from it all: I gained the opportunity to reflect. -Claire Castellano 2016

I had a really great time while on the trip, and learned a lot about myself and my ability to push my limits. – Amanda Patsis, 2017

My FOOT group was the first group of friends I actually had, and the first upperclassmen who I really interacted with on campus. They were welcoming and they totally helped me ease into the completely foreign social setting at Amherst by maintaining contact after the trip was over, having reunions, and always saying hi. – Jo Moore, 2017

What type of training do the upper-class leaders need to lead FOOT trips?

Many of the leaders of the FOOT trips were FOOTies themselves.  They have a passion to help and inspire the incoming class to learn about Amherst much the same way they did. They also love being outdoors.  All leaders have been trained in subjects such as Leave No Trace, maps and navigation, leadership skills, safety and risk management, outdoor skills and all have Wilderness First Aid certifications to ensure you have a safe and memorable FOOT trip.