Outdoor Orientation Programs - OOPs

College of the Atlantic is surrounded by expansive and spectacular land- and seascapes just waiting to for us to explore - come along! The Outdoor Orientation Programs are wilderness trips designed to help incoming students transition well to college. The experience helps students understand the culture of COA specifically, and form relationships with peers and mentors in a safe, community-focused setting before academic demands arise. Begun in 1973, OOPs is the college’s longest standing program and occurs every fall during late August, the week prior to the required on-campus orientation. The goals for the week-long OOPs trips are:

  • To provide incoming students with an exposure to the College through student leaders and faculty/staff/trustee/alumni mentors;
  • To establish a common experience and challenge that will serve as an anchoring point for their emerging relationships and academic journey;
  • To provide a structured learning and leadership opportunity for returning students;
  • To expose students to some of the unique natural areas in Maine.


In any given year there are 8 – 10 trips, with 6 – 12 people in each, exploring Maine’s wilderness areas at the same time. Returning students lead these trips for incoming students: first years, transfers or graduate students. Tales from those who have gone on OOPs trip are full of laughter and amazement!

Upon admission to COA, students will be given a link to the OOPs Packet, a document that includes the year's proposed OOPs trips and their descriptions, along with all forms required for participation.


Proposed trips for this year

We are planning the following trips for this year: Rockclimbing: A Dare by the Sea, Sailing the Atlantic, Sea Kayaking Adventure, Life and Marine Research on Mount Desert Rock, Cycling: Wheels & Waves, Allagash Lower River Canoe, Baxter State Park Extravaganza, Backpacking the Appalachian Trail, Dive the Deeps, and Yoga for Yourself–Service for Others.


Recent Oops Trips

  • Rockclimbing
  • Sailing the Atlantic
  • Sea Kayaking Adventure
  • Cycling: Wheels and Waves
  • Baxter State Park
  • Allagash Lower River Canoe
    Extravaganza
  • Backpacking the Appalachian Trail
  • Dive the Deeps

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