On SOP outings, students learn valuable leadership and technical skills while gaining a greater appreciation for the natural world around them. 

Interested students take a step beyond participation and become SOP leaders by participating in regular trips, apprentice-leading trips, and completing Wilderness Advanced First Aid training (WAFA), which the program offers each fall.  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's a great way to meet other students when your schedule permits. Come sign up!



Steps to become an SOP leader:
  1. Go on SOP trips 
    • By going on plenty of SOP trips, you begin learning by example. The program's director, assistant director, and volunteer leaders take great pride in mentorship of interested students.
  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 around 95 student leaders to be PRE-Orientation staff members. During PRE staff training (just before the start of the fall semester), students review SOP protocols, learn how to introduce their peers to the outdoors, 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. Importantly, wilderness medical skills are a hugely valuable asset even outside SOP programming!        Note: While we offer WAFA training to our student leaders we accept WFA or WFR certification too.
  5. Co-lead your first trip as a fully trained SOP leader! 
    • Remember, every outing you lead is another opportunity for enhancing your outdoor skills and leadership abilities, so keep getting out there and leading awesome trips!
SOP Ambassador Positions

Ambassadors for 2023-2024Greta Bonomo, Joseph Pascarella, Annie Kennedy, Max Feild, Molly Almon and Hannah Barrow

The SOP Ambassador Positions are aimed to serve students participating in the SOP as additional point persons beyond the Directors. The Ambassadors are selected for their strengths as community builders, keen listeners and supporters of their peers. Their responsibilities include receiving input, feedback, and concerns from their peers, trip participants, and other SOP student leaders. Ambassadors are expected to act as SOP Student leaders and beyond, as they represent what the SOP values most in hard working and friendly leaders. They are to be seen as leaders not just in the SOP setting, but on campus as a whole. They are expected to be extremely involved in the SOP through leading and going on SOP trips, having regular meetings with the Directors, van and WAFA certified, and trained as mandatory reporters under Title IX. Training for Title IX duties will occur in the fall. There are 6 Ambassador positions offered annually. Ambassadors do not have responsibilities during summer.

 The SOP Directors will meet regularly with the Ambassadors to discuss concerns relating to the program’s success and areas to improve upon.

 There is a strong tradition, in the SOP, of seeking and gaining feedback from our students on the health of our program. With these stipend positions we are formalizing and improving on our already strong feedback process.  This feedback occurs on trips (out in the field), in the office and in daily life on this campus.  The SOP Ambassadors will be announced to the SOP and PRE-leaders during our Fall staff training and displayed in the SOP office.


Take your leadership skills to the next level!