FOOT 2021

Although the COVID-19 pandemic prevented us from facilitaing FOOT in 2020, we are moving forward with the program in 2021! As the summer progresses, this page will be continue to be updated with any program related changes.

Please remember to keep in mind that aspects of the program  are subject to change based on the climate of public health this fall.

Thank you and we hope to see you in the fall!


First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trip

2012 First-year Outdoor Orientation Trip


Dear F&M First-Year,

Welcome to Franklin & Marshall! We are thrilled that you have decided to join our outstanding college community.  Though the summer is just beginning, we know many of you eagerly await the start of your college adventure. While First-Year Orientation is your formal introduction to Franklin & Marshall College, the college offers several pre-orientation programs that will help you start your college journey in a meaningful and engaging way.

The First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trip, otherwise known as "FOOT," is a pre-orientation program for students who are interested in becoming leaders in sustainability, environmental education, and those who have a love for the outdoors. FOOT is a four-day, three-night backpacking trip on a section of the Appalachian Trail through Pennsylvania’s beautiful rolling hills.

Upperclassman leaders join first-year students on the trail for this amazing trip. Participants get the opportunity to connect with other first-year students who share their passion for outdoor adventure and respect for the natural world. Furthermore, you get to spend a few days hiking the locale you’ll call home for the next four years!

Because FOOT begins before First-Year Orientation, you'll have the luxury of moving into your dorm room early and FOOT leaders will be ready to help carry your things! We’ll kick off FOOT with a mini-convocation event in conjunction with the other two pre-orientation programs, PIT and GROW. The program ends when we return from the trail before the start of First-Year Orientation. All FOOT expenses (early move-in, food, transportation, activities, group gear, etc.) are covered by a $250 registration fee and there will be no additional expenses during the week.  Gear is available for rent ($20/backpack, $10/ sleeping bag or pad). The registration and rental fees are collected after you have been accepted into the program.



The application period for FOOT 2021 will open May 16th, 2021. Submit your online application  any time after May 16th. The application deadline is 11:59 PM on June 30th, 2021. Please note that any applications submitted outside of these dates will not be able to be processed.

Already applied? Keep an eye on your inbox in the days following the June 30th application period deadline. Acceptance status emails will be sent at that time and require prompt responses in order to give available spots to waitlisted applicants. Unfortunately, we can only take non-international students.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact student coordinators:


Glory Jacquat (they/them)

Julia Kreuzer  (she/her)





Equipment List

Gear Essentials

  • Hiking boots - Please buy as soon as possible and start wearing them in, new boots cause more blisters

  • Backpack (Suitable for four days of backpacking.  Internal frame backpacks should be approximately 65 L minimum, external frame packs should be about 55 L) and come with accessory straps. Can be rented for $20.

  • Sleeping bag. Can be rented for $10.

  • 2 refillable water bottles (nalgenes are good for this)

  • Plastic bowl and cutlery 

  • Small flashlight or headlamp (Make sure you have batteries as well)

  • Sleeping pad. Can be rented for $10.



  • Medication, if prescribed to you, is absolutely essential. Epipens, inhalers, and medication that might not be needed daily but is necessary if something occurs (ex: migraine medication) are incredibly important because we will be in the backcountry. Even though FOOT leaders in every group are Wilderness First Aid Certified, your medication is essential and should always be on hand. 


Clothing Essentials

  • The less clothes the better (except underwear/socks). 

  • 1-3 T-Shirts (should be synthetic/non-cotton). (Below is an example breakdown for the uses of your different shirts. )

    • 1st shirt: Backpacking 

    • 2nd Shirt (in case other gets really dirty/it rains/sleep in)

    • 3rd shirt (to sleep in/optional)

    • Recommend no tank tops because of chafing 

  • 2 pairs of active shorts (should be synthetic/non-cotton)

  • 4 pairs of underwear, 1-2 sports bras

  • 1 long-sleeved top (should be synthetic/non-cotton)

  • 2-3 pairs of socks (should be synthetic or wool blend). High quality socks are preferred and  you should not wear ankle socks. Quality socks not only increase comfort on the trail but also help prevent blisters and hot spots on your feet.

  • 1 light/medium-weight fleece jacket, either zip or pullover 

  • 1 waterproof rain jacket/poncho

  • 1 pair of light to medium synthetic pants / leggings (to sleep in) (fleece is good)

  • 1 pair of  lightweight shoes/water shoes (Tevas/Chaco/crocs) for around camp

  • 1 pair of sunglasses



  • A watch (Helps with setting alarms)

  • 1 baseball cap or sun hat

  • Disposable camera


DO NOT bring bulky cotton items like cotton sweatpants or denim material clothing such as jeans.  They are heavy, take a long time to dry when wet, and can be dangerous in cold weather. Synthetic clothing is much more practical for this experience.  It wicks moisture away in hot conditions and keeps you cool. In cold, wet conditions it will keep you dry and warm.   


Personal Items

  • Personal toiletry items (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, brush/comb, menstrual products)

  • Lip balm (with sun protection)

  • Blister prevention items, especially if you have bought new shoes/boots and/or are prone to blisters. (2nd Skin blister pads or Nu Skin work best).  Leaders will also carry care items for blisters. 


Sample Schedule



9:00 am – 2:30 pm:  Check-in at the Center for the Sustainable Environment

9:00 am – 2:30 pm:  Participants move into their dorm rooms. Lunch with families - not provided

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm:  Convocation ceremony for PITers, FOOTers, GROWers and parents

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm:  Parent goodbyes

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm:  Icebreakers 

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm:  Pack bags, make trail mix


SAMPLE DAY 2 (8/24)

8:00 am:  Breakfast in the Center for the Sustainable Environment

9:00 am: Depart for the trail, lunch on the trail

12:30 pm:  Hit the trail, hike 3.4 miles to Tom’s Run Shelter


SAMPLE DAY 3 (8/25)

Hike 13.7 miles to Quarry Gap Shelter


SAMPLE DAY 4 (8/26)

Hike 12.2 miles to Tumbling Run Shelter


SAMPLE DAY 5 (8/27)

6:30 am – 7:30 am:  Wake up, have breakfast, pack up camp

8:00 am:  Hike 8 miles to Pen Mar Park

          ALL GROUPS

               1:00 pm:  Meet up with van, return to F&M

               3:00 pm:  Back at F&M; shower and relax before all first year orientation begins on 8/28


Frequently Asked Questions

What does FOOT Cost?

Just $250! This covers food, transportation, housing, the use of group equipment such as stoves and tents, and an AWESOME FOOT T-shirt! (Equipment rental is an extra small fee).

When are the FOOT applications due?

11:59 pm on June 30th EST.

Is it OK if I don’t have all the equipment on the list?

No worries! On FOOT you’ll get dirty and sweaty so there is absolutely no need to have all new equipment and clothes. Having comfortable and functional equipment is all you need to be prepared. Don’t buy a new fleece! Bring hand-me-downs or the one that your dad got for his birthday but never wears. No need to buy new Nalgene bottles! Empty Gatorade bottles will do.

Do I have to bring everything that is on the list?

In order to be safe it is important that you bring the items on the packing list. We know you are adults and trust you will use your common sense when deciding what to bring. A rain coat, for example is an absolute must. Things like insect repellent and sunscreen are items we will be able to share as a group. Each one of us will not want to bring these because it will be a lot of extra weight. If you know you burn easily though and want to bring your own tube of sunscreen, do!

Can I borrow equipment?

Yes! You will be able to borrow equipment for an additional fee. There is a box on the application form where you can explain what gear you need to borrow. You may get an email or call from one of the FOOT leaders to get more information on what you need. For example, if you need a backpack, we need to know your height so we make sure we have one that fits you.

What should I do to prepare for FOOT?

A bit of hiking wouldn’t hurt! However, there is no training schedule for FOOT. If you are in good shape and will be able to hike around 8-12 miles in a day, you will be set. You will surprise yourself with what you can accomplish in one day on the trail! Many students come into FOOT with little to no experience backpacking. All experience levels are welcome!

Is it OK if I don’t have experience backpacking?

Backpacking experience isn’t a prerequisite, but some experience with general hiking is good. The most important thing is to bring a positive attitude!

When/Where should I arrive?

Move-in for all students participating in FOOT will be August 23rd between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm. 

Will there be other students on campus when I arrive?

Yes, students will be on campus for fall sports pre-season. Students participating in the other pre-orientation programs will be arriving early as well.

When will we return and will our trip affect first-year orientation?

We’ll return the afternoon before the first day of first-year orientation; therefore, FOOT will not affect your first-year orientation at all (except that you’ll have a close group of great friends already)!

What will we be eating on the trip?

It is quite impressive what meals can be made on the trail!  Breakfasts are generally oatmeal, bagels, or fruit. Lunches often will be PB&J or Nutella on a tortilla. Dinners can be pasta, couscous and veggies, rice and beans, and much more. And, of course, trail mix (or GORP if you will) is a given! We will provide all food and snacks, but you are also welcome to bring any of your own stand-by trail snacks as well!

What safety precautions are being taken on FOOT trips?

FOOT leaders are trained in CPR and Wilderness First Aid. While in the backcountry, groups will be hiking on a VERY well-marked section of the Appalachian Trail and will never be far from park rangers. At each stop location, FOOT leaders have detailed descriptions of the quickest evacuation routes. Additionally, support crews back at F&M (FOOT leaders who are not on the trip) will be checking in with our group along the hike. FOOT leaders are required to carry their mobile phones at all times so that they can contact local emergency responders, support crews, and the F&M campus in any case of emergency. FOOT leaders also carry an extensive First Aid bag in which they are trained and knowledgeable in applying to specific circumstances.

I have special dietary needs. Will this affect my trip?

Most dietary needs can be easily accommodated for on FOOT. In order to accommodate students wishing to keep kosher they must have their own cooking gear. Please, be sure to let the summer coordinators know what your special dietary needs are and we can plan accordingly.