Policies and FAQs
Trip Registration Policy
Trip registration takes place at the ORAC office in the Preston Health and Activities Center or through our online portal. At the time of registration, payment is due in full unless there is a deposit option. Trip registration is first come, first serve. Unless otherwise noted, trip costs are all inclusive with the exception of meals. All pre-trip meetings will be held in the upstairs Campus Recreation & Wellness office (conference room) or in the Preston Center Meeting Room. These meetings are mandatory unless prior arrangements have been made with Haley Gouine, Outdoor Coordinator.
There are two payment categories for ORAC trips. Students/members refers to full-time students, part-time students, faculty and staff of WKU. Members also refers to all Preston Center members (faculty, staff, and alumni). Guests/Non-members refers to participants not affiliated with WKU or members of the Preston Center. In order to participate guests/non-members must be sponsored by a person affiliated with WKU or a Preston Center member who is also participating in that trip.
Trip Refund Policy
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. Refunds may only be issued by Haley Gouine via appointment. This appointment can be over the phone if payment was issued with credit/debit card.
Equipment Rentals and Late Fees
The renter must either be a WKU student, faculty or staff member, Preston Center member or must be sponsored by a Preston Center member. Renters must have a valid account number. All rentals must be returned on time to avoid a hold placed on the renter's account. If the item is not returned (or late fee paid) within 1 week of the due date, there will be a registration hold placed on the account. All rentals are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
All gear must be returned on time and in good order.
- Late gear will be charged the daily use fee for the number of days past the return day.
- Any gear returned to the Preston Center front desk outside of ORAC operating hours will be subject to a day's late fee.
- Dirty or wet gear will be charged a $25/hr cleaning fee, based on the amount of time it takes our staff to return the item(s) to a rent-able condition.
- Damaged or lost 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 canceled reservations. Reservations can be made at the ORAC office or over the phone at (270)745-6545. For customers reserving equipment over the phone, a credit/debit card will be required.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can go on an ORAC trip?
ORAC trips are open to all university faculty, staff, and students. WKU community members can sponsor one guest on a trip.
What does a trip experience include?
All lodging, logistics, transportation, equipment, instruction, and leadership are included in the price, but 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, 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 leaders are experienced adventurers who are confident, have good client care, judgement, and like to have fun. During all trips, there is a certified Wilderness First Responder present.
Who can rent equipment?
As with trips, any university faculty, staff, and students can rent gear. The general public are welcome to rent our gear but they must do so through a university community member. 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?
There are a variety of ways to prepare food in the backcountry. Depending on the trip, we may choose a quick/lightweight/easy method of rehydrating foods with boiling water, or we may have the time and resources to practice some gourmet camp cooking from apps to dessert! 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 or suggest some favorite dishes.
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.