University of Vermont

Service TREK

Service TREK

What is Service TREK?

Working in small groups of 8 TREKKIES and 2 TREK leaders (experienced students), Service TREK participants engage in direct service while learning about the value of community involvement, leadership skills, developing great friendships, and living and working as a team.

The 2014 TREK participants will choose between one of the following projects:

  • Catamount Crew: Help maintain the vast hiking and skiing trail systems of Vermont.
  • Farm & Food Crew: TREKKIES will serve a variety of community service agencies throughout Central Vermont dedicated to promoting food security and feeding folks in need.
  • Habitat for Humanity Crew: Construct a new home for low-income Vermonters with Green Mountain Habitat.
  • Better Burlington Crew: Participate in 6-8 different service projects that support community agencies in the Burlington area.
  • State Park Crew: Help maintain a real Vermont State Park, work with ranger staff, and provide important aid to the upkeep of trails and facilities.
  • Animal Rescue Crew: A chance to work with rescued domestic and wild animals in organizations around Vermont.

You don't need any special skills to participate in Service TREK, just an open mind and a sense of adventure. TREK leaders and site hosts provide all necessary training and special equipment.

Questions? E-mail Laura Megivern, Assistant Director of Leadership & Civic Engagement.

What Will I Learn?

Designed as a service and leadership learning experience, Service TREK gives you the opportunity to enhance self-awareness and further develop your understanding of service, leadership, social justice, and civic-mindedness. Working as an integral member of a group, you will develop important skills, including teamwork, leadership, and communication. You will also meet and talk with the people who benefit from your service so that you understand the context in which your service occurs. Group journals, local trips, and evening discussions around the dinner table or under the stars give TREKKIES a chance to process their experiences. You will also learn about what it means to become part of the UVM community.

What Trips are Available?

Service TREK lasts for six days and involves volunteering on one of six projects:

Burlington Crew 

Burlington Crew allows the newest members of the UVM Community with the opportunity to explore and serve a variety of community service agencies in Burlington, Vermont. Past projects have included help with food distribution and storage, gardening, and building beautification at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, the UVM Campus Kitchen, ReSource, the Nature Conservatory, the Invervale, CEDO, and other agencies.

Catamount Crew

TREKKIES who work with the Catamount Trail Association (CTA) will do projects such as bridge construction, trail maintenance, or clearing a new section of the Catamount Trail, a 300-mile, cross-country ski trail that spans the state of Vermont. Students should have at least some outdoor experience in hiking and have a basic level of fitness. A usual day on the trail includes hiking 1-2 miles into the woods with gear for the day. Students will also be camping at a local state park. The Catamount Trail Association (CTA) was incorporated in 1984 and is a member-supported, non-profit organization with the purpose of building, maintaining and protecting the Catamount Trail as a public resource, and furthering cross-country skiing in the state. The trail now starts in Readsboro on the Massachusetts border, winds its way through the heart of the Green Mountains, and ends in North Troy on the Canadian border. Along the way, it offers a unique opportunity to ski or snowshoe in Vermont’s backwoods during the winter. TREKKIES will camp in the natural beauty of the Green Mountains where they will learn about the valuable natural resources and environmental concerns of Vermont’s wilderness.

Habitat for Humanity Crew

Habitat TREKKIES will help build a home for a family with Burlington’s local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, the Green Mountain chapter. Habitat for Humanity is an international organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing from the world and building decent shelter as a matter of conscience and action. TREKKIES will work as a team with other students, community members, and a family to help construct a Habitat for Humanity house. Training will be provided, and an on-site construction manager will supervise the volunteers. Prior construction experience is not necessary. 

Animal Rescue Crew

This crew of 8 TREKKIES and 2 experienced student leaders will explore the Vermont animal rescue world by working with organizations that rescue domestic animals, rescue and release wild birds, connect animals therapeutically to people in need, and give greyhound dogs a second life in comfort.  This trip is for animal lovers and will take TREKKIES to a variety of really cool animal-focused organizations around Vermont.

State Park Crew

TREKKIES will live and work at a Vermont State Park for a week, working side by side with rangers and conservation crew staff, to help maintain the public facilities, trails, and other projects in the park. The State Park crew will allow for TREKKIES to learn about the value of public land, valuable natural resources, and the environmental concerns and access to Vermont's wilderness. Like the Catamount Crew new students should have at least some outdoor experience in hiking and have a basic level of fitness. A usual day on at the state park could include hiking 1-2 miles into the woods with gear for the day. Students will also be camping at the state park.

Farm & Food Security Crew

TREKKIES will work with a variety of agencies throughout Central Vermont dedicated to promoting food security and feeding folks in need. This trip explores all aspects of the "food safety net" including work at feeding and food distribution sites, and at farms gleaning produce to serve folks in need. Past service sites have included the Vermont Food Bank and Salvation Farms.

What’s a Day in the Life of Service TREK Like?

  • Early breakfast (by 8 a.m.) and departure for the trail or the construction site.
  • Full work day with a lunch break for relaxation and re-energizing.
  • Depending on the day and site, TREKKIES will be joined by other volunteers not affiliated with the TREK program.
  • Evenings include preparing dinner together, reflecting on the day, exploring Vermont and hanging out.  
  • Evening activities help you get to know one another, learn about the local community, and understand the impact of your service on your host agency.


Who are Service TREK Leaders?

Service TREK leaders are committed to service as an important part of their UVM experience and are some of the most involved, committed, and motivated students on campus. They represent the diverse interests of our student body and are involved in various clubs, organizations, and student leader positions (such as Student Government, Alternative Spring Break, Volunteers in Action, Residence Life, and more!). TREK leaders attend a thorough, full week training to learn about creating a safe, educational, and engaging environment for TREKKIES.

Why should I go on Service TREK?

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.
We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
- President Barack Obama

  • Great opportunity to meet fellow new first-year students.
  • Chance to learn about ways to get involved at UVM.
  • Amazing environment (Green Mountains, Lake Champlain, Central Vermont and Burlington).
  • Get settled in your new home before the chaos of Opening Weekend.

What do I need to bring?

  • Good attitude about meeting new people.
  • Willingness to try new things.
  • Gear/equipment that will be defined once you are accepted on TREK (i.e., sleeping bag, water bottle, etc.).
  • NO prior wilderness or outdoor experience is necessary.

When does TREK take place?

  • Check-in is the morning of Saturday August 16th at Dudley H. Davis Center. If you need to arrive earlier you must make accomodations to do so in the area - we are unfortunately unable to provide on-campus housing options to students prior to TREK.

    Students (and any accompanying family) will have a short period of time between check-in and departure to quickly move belongings into the student's residence hall.

  • TREK finishes on Thursday, August 21st with an all-TREKre-entry barbeque at the Davis Center.

  • Students will be able to stay in their residence hall room Thursday night after the barbeque.

  • Friday, August 22nd, 2014 is the "regular" campus move-in day for all new first-year students.

How do I sign up for Service TREK?

Registration for will be open starting May 5th, 2014 - when open, registration for specific TREK trips can be done can be completed online. For more information on what this process looks like as well as more information on cancellation policies please visit our TREK Registration page.

Please Note: Spaces in TREK are limited and tend to fill quickly. Registration will be conducted on a first come, first served basis. We recommend you register as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment.

Is Financial Aid Available?

Yes! A limited amount of Financial Aid is available for those in need of financial assistance in order to participate. Our program also offers Identity-Based Scholarships. Our ultimate goal is to work with ALL interested first year students to make participation in TREK a reality! TREKKIES who are awarded Financial Aid or Scholarships may request to borrow UVM Outing Club equipment which includes backpacks, sleeping bags, and rain gear.

Learn More about Financial Aid for TREK ➝

Got Questions?

For more information about the TREK Programs, Costs, and financial aid options, please contact us:
Phone: 802-656-2060
Service TREK E-mail: service.trek@uvm.edu;
Wilderness & Transfer E-mail: wildtrek@uvm.edu

Last modified June 19 2014 11:01 AM