According to several sources, Carleton College has decided to eliminate its Pre-Frosh Trip program. The program, which annually brings 100-120 first year students on backpacking trips to the North Shore, canoing trips to the Boundary Waters, or service trips to the Twin Cities, has been canceled in favor of a program that sends first year students on similar trips throughout the year, sources have said. Carleton’s decision to eliminate the program stems from the fact that not all first-year students are able to go on trips – every year there are up to 40 students remaining on the waitlist – and, in the opinion of the college, the trips create a community of exclusivity among the incoming freshman class.
Additionally, the college said, having the incoming class move in on two different dates – first for the Pre-Frosh trips, and second for New Student Week, is problematic for the faculty and staff of Carleton.
The Pre-Frosh Trips are organized by student coordinators during the summer, and are led by roughly 40 upperclassmen that volunteer their time before class begins in the fall to accompany the first-year students on the trips. The Campus Activities website explains that Pre-Frosh Trips “give incoming students the opportunity to have a great time, meet fabulous people, and begin learning about Carleton. The unique shared experience prior to New Student Week gives incoming students a great chance to meet other incoming and current Carleton students while exploring diverse, fun, and challenging environments.”
Sources say that the college considered several different alternatives with the goal of changing the Pre-Frosh Trips from the traditional format that students have known for the past few years, but apparently the ultimate decision was to eliminate the program in favor of weekly trips throughout the year.
Reactions from students who have led the trips in the past are expected to be critical; said one senior, “The trip provided the basis of the majority of my friends that I have today, almost four years later.”
Said another senior who went on a canoing trip, “It was a great way to get to know Carleton students in a pressure-free environment. Not all the trips are just fun ways to meet people, but the service trip really gives back to the community.”
“I’m from Los Angeles,” said a junior who also went on a canoeing trip, “ and I had never gone canoing before. It was a great trip and a great opportunity that I had never had before. I’m upset that the trips are canceled.”
More details of the college’s decision have yet to be finalized, but a more formal announcement is expected next week.