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Western Kentucky University

FAQs and Policies

Frequently Asked Questions


Who can go on an ORAC trip?

ORAC trips are open to all university affiliates and their guests. This includes students, faculty, and university staff. A guest is an individual who has a connection to a university affiliate. All guests must have their university sponsors present at all trips and events. 

What does a trip experience include?

All lodging, logistics, transportation, equipment, instruction, and leadership are included in the price; food is not. Participants are responsible for their own food and snacks. We recommend forming "food groups" with your fellow participants to cut costs and make cooking easier. 

How do we price our trips?

ORAC is not here to make money. All trips are priced to cover trip costs and operating costs. Trip costs include gas and transportation costs, food for leaders, equipment usage, lodging fees, permit fees, and gear maintenance. We want to give WKU students and staff high value, unique experiences at affordable rates. 

Who leads trips?

As you can probably guess, our trips are led by ORAC staff. Our primary trip coordinators, as we like to call them, are experienced adventurers who are confident, have good client care, judgement, and are most importantly - they like to have fun. Any trips that require more technical knowledge, such as rock climbing, alpine backpacking, and canyoneering, are led by our graduate assistant, Ben Phaneuf. During all trips, there is a wilderness first responder present.

How do you come up with trip ideas?

Our most valuable asset in deciding what trips to run is you! While we come up with ideas of trips we think would be awesome, a lot of our trips ideas come from trip participants themselves. Have a great idea for a trip? Submit it to Ben.

Who can rent equipment?

As with trips, any university affiliate can rent gear. You must be taking at least 6 full-time credits in order to be eligible to rent from ORAC. The general public are welcome to rent our gear but they must do so through a university affiliate. The sponsor of the patron is fully responsible for any late/damage fees. 

When do you sell your equipment?

We typically have a two year rotation on our gear. We hold a gear sale every year at the end of April to purge our old equipment and make room for new gear. If you are in the market for basic camping equipment, this is a place to get it at discount prices. The specific dates and details for the gear sale will be announced as the semester progresses. 

I have my own equipment, can I bring it on a trip?

Participants are more than welcome to bring their own gear. We simply ask that you run it by our staff to make sure it's appropriate for the activity. 

How do we make food in the woods?

Your head, your mind, and your brain. Backcountry cooking is as much an art form as it is a science. Sure, you can boil water and make a freeze dried meal, but we prefer to make awesome meals. Pre-trip meetings are a great way to learn more information about this. Our staff are more than happy to help participants learn to cook outside. 

Will I learn new things on a trip?

We'd certainly like to think so. Our trips are designed to be fun, safe, and educational. There aren't many moments to go without learning on our trips. While this may sound like school, we assure you it's not. Our leaders are great teachers and they love what they do. We teach hard skills, botany, geology, meteorology, and astronomy. Try learning all that in one class lecture! 




Registration and refunds

Registration takes place at the ORAC office. Registration is on a first come first serve basis. Cancellation at any time results in a $25 processing fee. A 100% refund will be issued if we are notified of cancellation at least 28 days prior to the activity. A 50% refund will be issued if we are notified of cancellation 14 days prior to the activity. No refund will be issued if we are notified of cancellation within 13 days of the activity. 

Equipment and late fees

All gear must be returned on time and in good order. Any late gear will be charged the daily use fee for the number of days past the return day. Any gear returned dirty or wet will be charged a $25 cleaning fee. Damaged equipment will be subject to the appropriate replacement fee at the discretion of the ORAC staff. 


Customers are encouraged to reserve equipment prior to its use to assure availability. All reservations require payment in full. There are no refunds or transfers on cancelled reservations. 

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 Last Modified 8/5/15