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Embark: First-Year Trips

Kick start your first year at NIU outdoor adventure style with a five-day trip. The trips are geared for any level of experience in the outdoors. This is a great opportunity to meet like-minded students and make new friendships in a relaxed, safe and fun atmosphere. At the end of each day the group discusses, amid late summer sunsets, outdoor skills, the day's events and shares in the excitement of being a new Huskie.

Included in the registration fee is all the equipment needed for camping and the activities as well as all meals, transportation, leadership and instruction.  These trips are led by students who are Trip Leaders for the NIU Outdoor Adventure program. These trips are only open for incoming freshman students. Participants will need to attend orientation and have signed up for classes before departure of their trip.

Summer Trips

Multisport Adventure

Get on board a week full of exciting adventures.  Your camp will be based at Bellevue State Park along the Mississippi River and groups will venture out each day.  The trip includes a day kayaking on the Mississippi River, a day hiking and rock climbing on the scenic bluffs at Mississippi Palisades State Park and a day exploring the caves at Maquoketa Caves State Park.

Backpack Adventure

Get a bit wilder on this experience backpacking along the Ozark Trail in Missouri. Discover the peace and power of wild places on this five-day adventure. We will cover the basics of backpacking and camping, and get to know each other around campfires in the wooded forest. Learn new skills that will guide your way through college, challenge yourself and gain support from others. 

Canoe Adventure

New friends and memories will be launched as you follow the way of the water on a five-day paddle. Float through the beautiful scenery of the Wisconsin River and learn Leave No Trace while camping along shoreline beaches. After a day on the water enjoy gazing at the night sky and telling stories by the campfire while getting to know your new friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does EMBARK cost?

The EMBARK trips cost $200 per person. If you unable to pay at the time registration another option is to charge your NIU Bursar account and you will have until the end of the semester to pay the balance. 

Is financial aid available?

Yes! To apply for a scholarship, fill out an application.

Is transportation provided?

Yes, you will just need to get to NIU then you will be transported via university vans driven by trained student staff to and from the trip locations.

If you do not have a way of getting to or from NIU, please contact us and we can help to arrange a ride for you to and/or from NIU.

What time do I need to arrive?

You need to arrive by 8 a.m. on the date of your trip departure.

Where should I park?

If you do not have an NIU parking permit, it is best that you arrange a drop-off and pick-up and arrive at campus by 8 a.m. on Sunday and picked up starting at 8 p.m. on Thursday of the trip week.

Where do we meet?

You need to meet at the Adventure Center located on the west side of the Student Recreation Center. The physical address is 325 N. Annie Glidden Road DeKalb, IL 60115

What forms do I need to fill out?

At the time of online registration, you acknowledge the liability statement and drug and alcohol policies. Each participant just needs to complete the online Medical Form, proof of medical insurance is required to attend the trip. Get more information about Outdoor Adventures trip registration.

What if I am not yet 18 years of age and able to acknowledge liability?

No problem! Just email us so we can send you a paper version of the form for one of your guardians to sign and fax, email, or snail mail it back to us!

What if I have never been camping before?

All the better! No prior experience is necessary to go on EMBARK! We have the wilderness primitive camping option without the luxuries of a shower or bathrooms and we have our multisport trip that will provide you with the creature comforts. Either way on the trip, trip leaders teach all the skills and provide all the info you will need to be comfortable. Also, Huskies who have never spent much time outside before often learn the most about themselves and have some of the most rewarding experiences.

What do I need to buy for my trip?

A suggested gear list will be emailed to all participants; you may need to buy a few travel items but most of the personal gear you can find around your house.

What about the outdoor equipment? That looks expensive, and I don't own my own.

Guess what! All the equipment is provided in your trip registration so no need to worry about buying any gear except personal gear. For example, you will need a pair of broken-in hiking boots for the backpacking trip and for the all the trips you will need personal clothing and hygiene supplies, waterproof rain gear, and personal eating supplies. If there is something on the gear list, you aren’t able to purchase or acquire contact us and we can help!

Should I be working out to get ready for EMBARK?

We encourage everyone to engage in some type of regular physical activity in preparation for the trip. Hiking and canoeing involve physical challenge, and we've found that people who prepare a little for trips are less tired and enjoy their experience more.

What will the food be like?

A variety of good, nutritious “normal” food! If you have any allergies or special dietary needs, please contact us right away!

Other questions?

Just contact Outdoor Adventures outdooradventure@niu.edu 815-753-9423