Freshmen Wilderness Experience (FWE) Participants and Support Crew (Parents),

Welcome to the University of Montana and the Freshman Wilderness Experience!   We are so excited to welcome you to the mountain learning environment you will call home for the next four years!  Thank you for signing up for the Freshman Wilderness Experience (aka “F W E”).  Take a look at the gear lists so you will be ready to go when you arrive on campus for the program orientation and pre-trip activities!

The Freshman Wilderness Experience will introduce students to the incredibly stunning natural surroundings in western Montana. It is designed for all incoming freshmen, and no prior experience is required. Most importantly, it is a chance for students to meet each other, explore Montana and form lasting friendships before classes begin on campus. 

Please review these important dates and arrive at Schreiber Gym at 1 p.m. for a program orientation, gear check, group activities, food preparation, and meeting your student leaders and group members.  Food is provided to each FWE participant, from dinner on Wednesday night through dinner on Thursday.  After staying on campus, the night in Schreiber Gym all together, students will leave for the river or backpacking trips early the next morning, spending three nights in a beautiful wilderness area on the fringes of Missoula, Montana.  All FWE students will return to the University of Montana for a closing pizza party and social on campus before joining the other groups for second half of orientation. 

Students need to come to campus on with the gear listed on the gear list for the river trip or backpacking trip.  Additional gear will either be available for rent at the Outdoor Program (for half price), or part of the group gear that is supplied for each trip but must be rented prior to the trip.  The gear list describes items the student is responsible for providing, group gear that is provided and gear that is available for rent.

The program fee will cover all transportation, food, logistics and some gear for each trip.  All groups will have two trip leaders, who will be UM students with wilderness first aid and backcountry leadership training.  These trip leaders can also serve as valuable mentors for incoming freshmen to the University of Montana.  Be sure to ask them hard questions while you are out there on the trail!

We hope you will enjoy your wild welcome to the University of Montana with the Freshman Wilderness Experience program!  Please feel free to call or email us with any questions!