FOOT and Covid-19

First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips (FOOT) is an orientation program of backpacking trips for entering Yale students led by two upper level students. During 2020, backpacking trips were no longer an option, but a virtual version of the program fulfilled many of the same goals. We created groups of eight first-years, with two leaders. Students came together and formed a tight bond of lasting friendships, and they created a close group that will support them during the oncoming years. The participants also heard about college life first-hand from the older students. The program consisted of fun icebreakers and games, education about outdoors spaces/public lands with a focus on social issues, and time for the group to get to know one another.

No matter the program, the goals of the leaders are to create an atmosphere of trust and inclusiveness, and to ensure the well-being of each first-year. It is the mission of FOOT for students to get in touch with themselves and the environments that surround them, and to foster an appreciation for nature and public lands.

In 2021, we might see a hybrid of options depending on Covid and the vaccine.  We might offer a choice between the virtual FOOT, day hikes from campus and traditional FOOT backpacking trips.  We will have to see what happens over the winter, spring and summer.

What is FOOT? First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips!

We invite you to join us for an experience that many students say is one of the most formative and important of their time at Yale. On FOOT, you will sleep under the stars, share stories and songs around the campfire, create a new tight-knit community of friends, enjoy discovering the Northeastern landscape, and spend time discussing what life at Yale will be like.

FOOT offers a unique wilderness experience to 400 incoming Yale first-years and transfer students each year!  In late August, trained juniors and seniors lead pre-orientation backpacking trips to five scenic locations throughout the Northeast. It doesn’t really matter where you go–as long as you do FOOT you will have tons of fun. We will cure all those nervous jitters about going off to college. You will return to Yale with friends that often last a lifetime!

You do NOT need to be an experienced backpacker to participate in FOOT.  FOOT is for everyone and is an appropriate (and exciting!) choice for students from all backgrounds.  The trips are designed to all levels of experience – both novices and skilled mountaineers will find them rewarding.  The primary goal of FOOT is to help ease the transition into life at Yale. You will find the hike both exciting and rewarding!