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Frequently Asked Questions

Our goal is to make this process of move-in and transition as easy as possible so you can really enjoy yourself with your new classmates. Please take the time to read through the questions. If you don’t find the answer to what you are looking for please reach out to our professional and student staff.

You may contact us at

  • How many participants can participate in Steppin’ Out?

    We have 20 spots open for Backpacking and 28 spots open for Basecamp

  • What training have Steppin’ Out leaders received?

    Each leader has participated in 16-hours of classroom training, with topics including leadership development, theory of experiential education, design and implementation of outdoor adventure experiences, as well as equity, diversity, and inclusion and others. All leaders have been trained by a licensed professional and each is certified in Wilderness First Aid (WFA by SOLO) and CPR AED (by the American Red Cross). In addition to technical skills training that prepare leaders for hiking/walking, basic camp craft skills, backpacking, and watercraft use, the leadership teams gather in the days before the program to scout the areas we will be using for the experience as well as to participate in a collaborative training shared with all Resident Assistants and Opening Days leaders. All of our leaders also lead outdoor trips for the Outdoor Program, and have continuous development of their skills throughout the academic year.

  • How long is Steppin' Out?

    Steppin' Out is 4 days and 3 nights. Directly after you move into your room on day 1, our leaders will prepare you for departure from campus that afternoon. You will be off-campus for the entire time and return to campus the evening of day 4, the day before Opening Days orientation begins.

  • What is the bathroom situation during Steppin' Out?
    Under each trip option, there is a description of the bathroom and sleeping
    situation. Basecamp Trip and Backpacking Trip
  • When I arrive for the program can I move into my room?
    When you check in on move-in day you will be checking into your fall housing assignment with Residence Life, which is your space for the year. You will have a few hours to set up your room prior to departure and upon the completion of the experience. Please coordinate with your roommate prior to arrival to organize the space with their thoughts in mind as well! This is one of the nicest things about the pre-orientation program; you get to arrive early to have more time to set up your space than the typical orientation schedule.
  • We will only have a few hours to set up our room, is that enough time?

    Here are some pro tips:

    • Arrive the night before if you can so you can get into your room right away when we open in the morning.
    • If you plan to buy a lot of items for your room when you arrive, we suggest buying it in advance and shipping to the school and picking up the mail items the day before or early that morning of move-in. You can also shop the night before if you arrive early. There is limited time to shop that day.
    • Utilize all the staff around to help you move in. Work with them to get your items up to your room in 2 or 3 trips.
    • Bring some type of cart or dolly with you to help with the move-in. We will have some carts but not enough for everyone.
    • Make sure all your paperwork for Residence Life and your swipe card is done in advance. If you are delayed in getting the information filled out and waiting until you arrive there will be some logistics you will need to take care of before you can have your room keys. Be sure to get all of those items done before arrival.
    • Make sure all your waivers and dietary paperwork are filled out for the program. Similar to above you will need to fill those things out before you get your keys.
    • Communicate with your roommate in advance so you will be able to adjust the room quickly already knowing what the plan will be.
    • This day is stressful, work to be rested, hydrated, and well-fed to keep up your energy.
  • What type of food will we be eating and can you accommodate my needs around meals?

    We can and will accommodate all needs. We have worked for several years to build a menu that accommodates all allergies, vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, meat-eaters, picky eaters, etc. If you are concerned please contact us so we can make sure you are getting your needs met on a very active experience.

    Because of the lack of refrigeration available in our course areas, many of our products are dried, dehydrated, pre-packaged, or made to withstand no refrigeration so that you and your team can build the ingredients into amazing meals. In addition to meals, we provide two to three large snack each day. We have plenty of food, assorted spices, and provide seasonings  to satisfy all palates.

    In our program, we ask students to participate in meal preparation. Food is a community process and relationships are built around the making of food. We ask that you come with an open mind and some creativity to help support the cooking process.
    Lastly, you ultimately know your body best. Please feel free to bring snacks and food that best suit your needs to supplement what we are offering. Please be sure to fill out the dietary accommodations form HERE. This helps us with supporting you during the experience.

  • I am a transfer student can I participate in the Steppin’ Out Program?

    The answer is yes, by all means please sign up. We would love to help you connect to Willamette and help with the ease of transitioning into the university. The experience will be helpful to connect to other students as well as the resources of the university.

  • I am a PNCA first-year or transfer student at the Portland Campus, am I able to sign up for Steppin’ Out?

    The answer is yes, you will be able to sign up for the experience as a first-year student or a transfer student. We are working out the details and the logistics. Please ask us questions at if you are interested in participating.

Willamette University

Jump Start

Putnam University Center, Second Floor
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6463 voice
503-370-6407 fax