SOP - Student Leaders

Student Leader with students

Our 95+ student trip leaders comprise the backbone of the Sewanee Outing Program (SOP). Students become SOP trip leaders by going on our trips, apprentice leading trips, and completing Wilderness Advanced First Aid training (WAFA). On our trips, students learn valuable leadership and technical skills while also gaining a greater appreciation for the natural world around them. Students who wish to become leaders learn where we lead trips, what our protocols are, and most importantly how to lead trips safely. Becoming a trip leader takes a great deal of responsibility but is a terrific way to share your interests with other students. The SOP is not an exclusive club; instead, it is a series of events and opportunities to get people outside and explore the outdoors. Consequently, it is a great way to meet other students when your schedule permits. Sign up!

Steps to become an SOP leader:

  1. Go on SOP trips (By going on plenty of SOP trips, you begin learning by our example.)
  2. Apprentice lead trips with current SOP leaders (Learning by doing is one of the best ways to understand and implement SOP protocols, refine technical skills, and build leadership and group dynamics experience.)
  3. Apply to be a PRE staff member (Each spring, the SOP selects ~90 student leaders to be PRE-Orientation staff members. During PRE staff training, students learn how to introduce other students to the outdoors, review SOP protocols, and continue developing their technical skills.)
  4. Get WAFA certified (All PRE-Orientation staff participate in Wilderness Advanced First Aid training. Each August the SOP hires outside consultants (Wilderness Medical Associates) to certify 40+ Sewanee students. The WAFA certification is valid for three years and the certification cost, lodging, and food is covered by the SOP.)
  5. Co-lead your first trip as a full SOP trip leader! (Remember, every trip you lead is another opportunity for growing your technical skills and leadership abilities, so keep getting out there and leading awesome trips.)

Student Directors

Each activity of the SOP has a Student Director (Caving, Climbing, Hiking/Backpacking, Cycling, Canoeing/Kayaking). Student Directors are appointed by the Director of the SOP from the outstanding leaders. Candidates for Student Directors are particularly involved leaders who exhibit a knowledge and interest in their activity that is above others. New leaders are selected each year during the Spring semester.