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Undergraduate Student Life

Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program (COÖP)

What is COÖP?

The Columbia University Outdoor Orientation Program (COÖP) is an optional pre-orientation program for incoming students entering Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. COÖP is designed to help build connections with other first-year and current students through a four-day outdoor camping experience. The COÖP experience is divided into three trips, hiking (HOP), biking (BOP), and river canoeing (ROP), each of which pairs a small group of first-year students with several current students, who serve as trip leaders. The leaders act as mentors for the first-year students, ensure safety on the trip, and create a comfortable environment in which first-year students can ask questions, express concerns, and get to know one another. Move-in for COÖP 2015 will take place on Wednesday, August 25, 2015. Each of the three trips leave the next morning, Thursday, August 26, 2015 and return to campus on Sunday, August 30, 2015. 

Program History

COÖP was started in the ancient year of 1984 by a small group of friends with the goal of sharing their love of the outdoors to incoming students (and perhaps getting the University to foot the bill for a hiking trip). The program began with a hiking trip (HOP), but it grew steadily from there. At its peak, HOP was taking over 150 students on its trip. We speculate that at this point (which was sometime in the early nineties) the coordinators of the trip put their heads together and decided to expand. Some people like hiking, but others like biking. Thus, the biking trip (BOP) was created. Soon the coordinators began to realize that while some people do not mind only having two choices, others prefer to have three. Some people like to hike, others like to bike, and still others like to canoe. And so, in 1998, the river canoeing trip (ROP) was created. And we have been happy ever since, trying to expand little by little, so that as much of the incoming class as possible can experience our beloved program, COÖP.

Program Application Information

Applications open on Friday, May 1 and are due Sunday, May 31 by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. To complete the application, please follow this link. Acceptance to the program is based on a lottery system. Please see the program questions for COÖP below; it is recommended that you review the questions and develop your answers before accessing the application. Notifications regarding acceptance to COÖP will be sent out via email in mid to late June. If you have any questions, please email

1. Briefly describe your swimming experience.

2. We will be outside for 4 days becoming familiar with the glory of the wilderness, away from cell phones and technology, and getting dirty, smelly, and tired. We think it's great. How do you feel?

3. We set-up and break camp together, cook together, and keep each other company along the trail, river, or road. How do you see yourself contributing to your teammates' experience?

4. What would you do if you had one totally free day?



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