With many individual trip types amongst our TREK Programs, it's hard for us to anticipate all the specific questions that will arise. Hopefully the following frequently asked questions will address a majority of your questions and help you get your bearings while you prepare for your TREK experience. We are also at all Admitted Student Visit days -- feel free to stop by and ask additional questions you might have! 

 

Have questions about TREK Arrival Day 2023? Our detailed schedules for the day are now available below.

REGISTRATION & FINANCES

WHEN IS TREK?

TREK 2023 starts on August 18 and ends mid-day on August 23.

HOW DOES TREK REGISTRATION WORK?

The lottery for TREK 2023 will be open from April 3 – May 7, 2023. During this period, any incoming student can enter the lottery to participate in TREK. As part of the lottery process, you will be asked to rank your preferred trips. On May 8, we will close the lottery and no new entries will be accepted. We will draw names from the pool of submissions and place everyone on one of their top 6 trips. Please note that entering the lottery does not guarantee a spot on TREK. Those who are not drawn in the lottery will be placed on the TREK Waitlist. If you are placed on the waitlist, don't lose heart! All applicants will be notified in late May as to whether they have been drawn in the lottery or waitlisted. If you are notified that you've been drawn from the lottery, you must formally accept your spot by completing the registration form and paying the registration fee. 

WHEN CAN I ENTER THE TREK LOTTERY?

Online lottery registration will open on April 3 and close on May 7 at 11:59 PM. For more information about registration please visit our Registration page.

WILL THERE BE PREFERENCE GIVEN TO STUDENTS WHO APPLY EARLIER IN THE LOTTERY WINDOW?

No. Completing your lottery application early in the open enrollment period will not impact or improve your chances of selection. 

WHEN WILL I BE NOTIFIED OF LOTTERY RESULTS?

All those who sign up for the lottery by the deadline will be notified of their status (i.e., selected or waitlist) by late May. 

IF I AM SELECTED, DO I GET MY FIRST CHOICE TRIP?

No, not necessarily. Depending on your placement once the lottery is run, other selected participants may have already filled all the spots your top-ranked trip. In that case, we will move down your trip rankings until you can be matched with an available spot. Our goal is to match the most people with one of their top 6 trips. You may be placed on any of the trips you ranked, so it is important that you do not rank trips you would not be interested in participating in. 

WHAT IS THE BEST STRATEGY FOR RANKING TRIPS ON THE LOTTERY FORM?

Truly, the best strategy is to rank the trips in the order that you would most want to participate in them! Please only rank trips that you would be willing and excited to go on! 

HOW MUCH DOES TREK COST?

Costs for TREK vary depending on program type. For more information about trips and trip fees, and information on financial support, please see our Costs page.

DO I PICK ONE TRIP OR MULTIPLE TRIPS?

Within your lottery application, you will be able to rank up to six (6) trips that you would be interested in attending. You can view available trips on our TREK Trips page. Please only rank trips that you are interested in going on. 

DO TRIPS FILL UP?

Yes. The UVM TREK program is a highly sought-after experience for new UVM students, and spaces typically fill to capacity. However, we do maintain waitlists for all trips through July. 

CAN'T YOU ADD MORE SPACES? WHY ARE THERE CAPACITIES?

Unfortunately, we cannot add more spaces to our trips. We work hard to bring as many participants as possible on TREK each year, but a number of factors go into setting our capacities, including, but not limited to: the amount of gear we have available, the number of trained and experienced leaders we're able to hire, the amount of individuals our service organizations can accommodate, and state park/trail regulations which set a capacity on the size of a group hiking trails and using state park land.

We want TREK to be a fun and safe experience for everyone, including our service and outdoor partners throughout New England. Capacities help us achieve that goal! 

WHY DID I RECEIVE A STRANGELY-FORMATTED EMAIL FROM TREK?

We're implementing a new footprints tracking system this year to ensure we are answering questions in a timely and complete manner. With that being said, the adjustment to our new process has been bumpy and we occasionally make errors. We appreciate you bearing with us as we learn this new software -- if you have any concerns about an email you received, always feel welcome to reach out by responding directly to the email, or giving us a call. 

 

TRIP EXPERIENCE

WHO IS TREK FOR?

The TREK program specifically serves our newest Catamounts, meaning that only incoming First-Year and Transfer students are eligible to participate. However, there are plenty of opportunities for all students to engage in service work and outdoor adventures all year long through the Department of Student Life, as well as our many outdoors and/or service-based clubs and organizations. 

WHO ARE TREK LEADERS?

TREK Leaders are trained students who will be with you throughout the TREK experience. They're here to serve as your guide, facilitator, mentor, instructor, and friend— and help you safely and comfortably navigate the TREK experience. Whether or not you wind up going on TREK, we encourage you to consider becoming a TREK leader later in your UVM career.  Learn more on our TREK Leader page.

HOW MANY OTHER PARTICIPANTS ARE THERE?

TREK is intentionally a small group adventure. Group sizes vary from 6-10 participants (called TREKkies) and 2-3 TREK Leaders. Across all our trips, about 300 new students participate in TREK each year.

WHAT KIND OF FOOD WILL I BE EATING? CAN ACCOMODATIONS BE MADE?

Food is love while on TREK! The sample menu below will give you a good idea of what to expect. All food is vegetarian with options to add meat on occasion. If you have food any allergies, are kosher, or have other dietary restrictions, you will be prompted to share them on your registration form. If you would like to talk through options, please call us (802-656-2060) so we can discuss alternatives. The following are representative items that go out with every TREK trip: powdered milk, cocoa, salsa, cheese, tortillas, beans, pasta, sauce, parmesan, trail mix, granola, oatmeal, 7-grain cereal, rice & veggies, chili, macaroni & cheese, bagels, dried fruit, raisins, tang & lemonade powder, hard candy, pita bread, soup mixes, brown sugar, butter, apples, oranges, pepperoni, and tuna. 

HOW PHYSICALLY CHALLENGING IS TREK?

Some TREK trips come in a variety of ‘flavors’: mild, medium, or spicy to accommodate a variety of desires for level of physical challenge. We encourage you to read the 'Recommended Abilities' listed for your trip on our TREK Trips page. If you’re nervous about your trip or have specific questions about the difficulty of your specific TREK trip, we encourage you to e-mail us (trek@uvm.edu) for specifics. These e-mails go directly to the logistics team who are busy setting up your TREK trips. They will have the best understanding of the nature of your specific trip and can provide you greater detail.

The one blanket recommendation we’ll make is for those going hiking or backpacking: If you’re buying new boots for your trip, be sure to wear them around as much as you can before going on your trip! Wearing fresh pair of boots that haven’t been ‘broken-in’ all day while hiking can cause blisters, ouch!

WILL I BE ABLE TO SHOWER DURING TREK?

All Service trips, Vermont Multi-Sport trips and Adirondack Rock & Hike trips have access to bathhouses with running water and coin operated showers. All other trips do not have access to showers, though many have access to natural bodies of water to jump in!

 

HEALTH & SAFETY

WHY DO I NEED TO SUBMIT MEDICAL FORMS? WHAT IF I HAVE ALLERGIES OR OTHER CONDITIONS REQUIRING MEDICATION OR FIELD-BASED TREATMENT?

To ensure your safety, we need to be aware of all medical conditions past and present, and those that may arise between the time you submit your medical form and the beginning of TREK. If you become ill or are injured leading up to TREK, please call to let us know. Though you may be healthy enough to participate, it may make sense for us to place you on a less demanding or less remote route. We also encourage you to call (802-656-2060) or e-mail (trek@uvm.edu) us with any concerns regarding food or dietary restrictions. In order to accommodate food allergies or other dietary restrictions, we need to know of them well in advance of your arrival.

For TREKkies currently on medication for chronic conditions and/or who have disclosed those medications to us upon registering, expect to receive a follow-up phone call to assess necessary field accommodations. Remember, no problem is too small to discuss! A short conversation before TREK will avoid potentially larger problems in the field. All medical information is confidential and will be shared only with your leader team.

BECAUSE I COMPLETE MEDICAL INFORMATION FORMS FOR TREK, DO I STILL HAVE TO COMPLETE MY CENTER FOR HEALTH AND WELLBEING FORMS?

Yes. We are two different offices with different forms for different purposes.  All incoming students are still required to complete the Center for Health and Wellbeing's health form, which can be completed at uvm.edu/health.

WHY DON'T YOU ALLOW SMOKING?

Firstly is for legal reasons. The legal age for consuming alcohol, flammable or non-flammable nicotine and cannabis products in Vermont is 21.

Secondly is for safety reasons. Many of our trips take place in environments where emergency medical services are more difficult to reach. Introducing any mind altering substances onto a trip increases the likelihood of an incident to occur and inhibits the leaders ability to determine the severity of an injury.

Finally is for ensuring healthy community standards on our trips. College is an amazing time of self-discovery. We hope to foster an environment where you are unencumbered by certain social pressures. The only caveat to this policy is for individuals who have an addiction. Starting college and meeting new friends is stressful enough without the added chemical changes to quitting nicotine cold turkey. If you are in need of an accommodation to this policy we invite you to indicate so on your registration form and we will be in touch with you to make the appropriate arrangements. 

WHAT HAPPENS IF STUDENTS CHOOSE TO LEAVE TREK?

There are typically 3 circumstances in which TREKkies leave our program:

  • Evacuation due to accident, illness or injury
  • A family emergency arises
  • A student is struggling physically or emotionally on the trip and asks to return to campus, or a student has repeatedly violated UVM or TREK community standards and is asked to leave the trip 

In cases of student injury or family emergency, TREK staff will work with families to arrange appropriate treatment and/or transportation home. Families may be responsible for all transportation costs. Families of TREK students who leave the field for whatever reason are financially & logistically responsible for creating alternative lodging and eating options for their student. While residence hall rooms may be accessed, there is no residence hall staff supervision or food service available until the final day of TREK. There are no refunds available to students needing to leave TREK, regardless of circumstance.

HOW CAN FAMILY/FRIENDS CONTACT ME DURING TREK?

Family members can call the Student Life Office (802-656-2060) to send along a message to a TREK student. The office is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM.

 

PACKING & GEAR QUESTIONS

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

Depends on what trip you're going on! Check out our Packing Lists to see what you'll need.

Can I borrow gear from UVM?

Yes! In addition to what is already provided, we have a limited amount of equipment and clothing that can be requested to borrow. If you indicated on your registration form that you would like to borrow gear, you must complete a Gear Request Form linked in your confirmation email. The deadline to complete this form is June 30, 2023. Below is a list of what items are available to borrow.

Clothing
Hiking Boots
Rain Pants
Rain Jacket
Fleece Pants
Fleece Jacket
Insulated Jacket
Insulated Gloves
Work Gloves
Hat

Non-Clothing
Day Pack
Overnight Pack (~60 Liters)- For Backpacking Trips only
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Bag Liner
Sleeping Pad

What kind of weather can I expect? Do I really need to bring all of the warm clothes on the packing list?

The weather can be harsh in  New England... even in August! YOU REALLY DO NEED all the gear recommended on our clothing and equipment list! If you are joining us for Adventure TREK, you can count on a couple of wet, chilly, windy days and nights with temperatures near freezing. Although it is summer, a fleece hat and gloves are required. For those on the water sea kayaking, canoeing, or rowing, cold air temperatures combined with wind and rain provides perfect hypothermia conditions.

DO I REALLY NEED ALL OF THE ITEMS ON THE LIST?

Yes. We get lots of calls about what gear you 'actually' need, and our answer will always be: ALL of it. We're very intentional about creating our packing lists and do so to ensure you and your TREK crew are able to experience your trip safely and comfortably.

WHY DO I HAVE TO PROVIDE PERSONAL EQUIPMENT? WHERE CAN I FIND THESE ITEMS WITH THE GREATEST SAVINGS?

Because of the size of the TREK program, and varying nature of each individual TREK trip, our program is unable to provide personal gear for all TREKkies. Shopping via discount outdoor equipment company catalogs online can save a significant amount of time and money. Particularly recommended with price, quality, selection and dependability in mind are local gear outfitters here in Vermont:

  • Outdoor Gear Exchange: Based in Burlington and co-owned by former UVM Outing Club president Mike Donohue '97. The OGE crew can save you money on shipping by packing your order for pick-up when you arrive on the morning of TREK registration! They also have a great bargin basement to find second-hand clothing and equipment.
  • Other nationwide web-based catalog companies & retailers known for savings and quality include: The Sierra Trading Post, REI, Campmor, and LLBean. There are physical stores of LLBean, Sierra Trading Post, and REI in Downtown Burlington, South Burlington, and Williston respectively.
Limited gear is available to rent from UVM free of charge. Priority is given to students receiving financial support to attend TREK and on a first-come first-served basis. If you are not receiving financial support for TREK, you should still request rental equipment, but know there may not be enough. 

BUT I PROBABLY DON'T NEED *EVERYTHING* ON THE LIST, RIGHT??

Wrong! You need everything on your packing list! We'll be checking packs when you check-in. If you're missing items, we will likely send you out to get them before letting you go on your trip. Avoid the stress and pack accordingly!

CAN I BRING MY CELLPHONE?

We understand that some family members may want to have contact with their student during TREK. If an emergency arises, TREK Interns will have cell phones to use to call for help. If family members need to get in touch with their student, they can call the Student Life office (802-656-2060). The TREK staff will be able to contact the leaders of that student’s trip and relay the message, or make arrangements in the event of an emergency. Note: if your student is on TREK and chooses to bring their cell phone, these official channels should still be used to contact the student in case of an emergency. It is important that the TREK Interns and staff be involved in conversations of this nature to best support the student.

We know that it might be hard to unplug for the week, but it’s a big part of what makes TREK such a unique and powerful experience! 

WILL I NEED MONEY DURING TREK?

Strictly speaking, no, you will not need any money. The cost of the program covers everything: housing, group supplies, food, snacks, and beverages. There may be a rare occasion however, when you will have an unforeseen problem or issue that requires you to buy something you weren't planning. TREK Leaders have basic "emergency" supplies like extra anti-itch cream for bug bites and extra feminine hygiene products, but they do not have enough for a week supply for individual students. If a Service or Basecamp Trip student needs something along this line, a TREK leader will take them to the store to buy what they need.

WILL I BE PROVIDED A BIKE FOR MOUNTAIN BIKING TREK?

Mountain Biking trip participants will either need to bring their own bike or they can rent them for an additional fee. You'll have the ability to indicate your need to rent (and pay for) a bike during the registration process.

 

ARRIVAL, CHECK IN & MOVE-IN

You can view our arrival day itinerary for trip participants here, and itinerary for families here.

Need help finding your Learning Community's main desk? Check out our guide and map

WHEN AND WHERE DO I CHECK IN? HOW DOES MOVE-IN WORK?

For students participating in TREK, check-in will occur on Friday, August 18. You'll receive detailed instructions about this process via email - but the following is a general overview of what the process looks like:

Move-in begins in the morning. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by TREK or Residential Life staff who will help you check in and find your room . Students must be present alongside friends and family members helping with the move-in process; friends and family should not plan to return to the Residence Halls following TREK check-in.

Check-in for trips occurs  at the Dudley H. Davis Center . Families will be directed to a seperate reception at this time.  TREK staff will help students check in and ensure you have all the gear you need, all paperwork is up to date and on file, and connect you with your TREK group.

The check-in process should take roughly 1 hour. To make this process run smoothly, please reference the detailed packing list for your trip well in advance. You MUST have everything on the list. If you have all the appropriate gear when you arrive, check-in will go quickly and smoothly. 

Parents will have one last opportunity to say goodbye to students before the TREK Kick Off Celebration. All students must be checked in prior to the kickoff.

PLEASE NOTE: While we appreciate the travel efforts your family is making to come to Vermont early, under no circumstances are students participating in the TREK program able to access their rooms the day before TREK begins. The buildings will not be open, you will not have your room key, and there will be no staff present to assist you.

WHERE DO I PARK FOR CHECK-IN AND DROP-OFF?

TREK families are asked to park vehicles in designated parking areas only. Specific details on these areas will be communicated via email prior to arrival.    

IMPORTANT PARKING NOTES: Anyone requiring overnight parking will need to make arrangements with Transportation and Parking Services to obtain a permit.

You will not be permitted to leave your car on the oval in front of the east entrance to the Davis Center OR in the Jeffords Parking Lot during move-in or check-in.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I ARRIVE LATE?

Prior to Group Departure: When contacted in advance, we are typically able to accommodate those unable to make the check-in deadline on the day of TREK arrival. We’ll happily work with TREK families to create a plan regarding trip preparations.

After Group Departure: If a student arrives after the group has departed, it will only be possible for them to still participate in TREK if the timeline for connecting with the group will not negatively impact the experience and/or designated travel timetable, or cause significant inconvenience or endangerment to TREK Interns, staff or other students.

TREK families may be responsible for additional costs of transporting their student to meet the rest of the group and/or housing their student in the event of missing departure. Please note students who are not able to join their TREK trip for any reason will not be eligible to stay in their residence hall until the night of August 23rd.

CAN I ARRIVE EARLY AND STAY ON CAMPUS THE NIGHT BEFORE?

Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate students who need to come early for TREK. While we appreciate the travel efforts you and your family are making to come to Vermont early, under no circumstances are students participating in TREK able to access their rooms before the day TREK begins. If you are making accommodations to stay at an area hotel by yourself, we encourage you to check with your booking hotel to ensure their policy allows you to check in without an adult over the age of 21 present.

WILL I BE ABLE TO DROP OFF MY BELONGINGS IN MY DORM ROOM?

Likely yes - but occasionally due to the summer construction schedule, some student’s fall assignment will not be accessible on the day you check in. If that is the case for you, the Department of Residential Life staff will identify a secure storage area for your belongings until you return from TREK on Wednesday. At that point you will be able to move into your actual room.

CAN MY FAMILY STAY AND FINISH SETTING UP MY ROOM WHILE I GO ON TREK?

No. For security reasons you will need to turn in your room keys before you leave for TREK. Your family is not allowed to go back to your room or stay in your room.

SHOULD MY FAMILY PLAN TO RETURN TO CAMPUS AFTER TREK TO HELP ME SETTLE IN?

It depends. They certainly do not have to - and a number of families who have to travel long distances opt not to. It can be tricky with family coming on Wednesday because there is no way to know exactly when you'll be back from your trip. Wednesday at 3pm, orientation will begin for about half of the TREKkies, while other TREKkies will officially begin orientation on Thursday. Either way, TREKkies will likely be eager to spend time with their new friends on campus!

Additional Questions?

If, after reading the following FAQs, you still find yourself with questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. E-mail is the fastest form of contact as they go directly to the logistical team handling your specific TREK. If you call our office (802-656-2060), we will do our best to connect you with the resources you need.

Contact Info

Feel like sending us some snail-mail?

Dept. of Student Life
Dudley H. Davis Center
590 Main Street, Room 310
Burlington, VT 05405

phone: (802) 656-2060
email: trek@uvm.edu

Please Note: Our full-time TREK team is small in size. Please be sure to check that your answer is not already covered in our FAQs prior to contacting us to help ensure we're able to provide support to those who need it.

DID YOU GET A STRANGELY-FORMATTED EMAIL FROM US? 

We're implementing a new footprints tracking system this year to ensure we are answering questions in a timely and complete manner. With that being said, the adjustment to our new process has been bumpy and we occasionally make errors. We appreciate you bearing with us as we learn this new software -- if you have any concerns about an email you received, always feel welcome to reach out by responding directly to the email, or giving us a call.

Follow TREK on social media