Questions? Lucky you - we have answers.
+ What kind of trips are available?
We've got everything from short day hikes to long camping trips to specialty trips (surfing, anyone?). All of our upcoming trips can be viewed in our Trips section here. Pick whatever your heart desires because there's something for every fitness level, time commitment, or academic interest. If you're looking for an explanation of our difficulty rating system, we break it down for you here.
+ Do I have to be a USC student to participate?
Yes - Peaks & Professors is a USC student organization, so only current USC students (undergraduate or graduate) can participate on our trips. We love that so many people want to Think Outside, but unfortunately it would be a legal liability for the university if anyone who is not a current student joined us on our hikes. We encourage you to take a hike though (in the friendliest way possible).
+ Is there a membership fee?
Nope! Peaks & Professors believes that the outdoors should be shared by all, so one of our core principles is to keep our trips as accessible as possible for everyone. We have no expensive annual membership fees - rather than pay a membership fee, you only pay the participant fee for any individual hikes you register for.
A typical day hike will cost $7-8 while an overnight is usually around $50-80. Drivers pay reduced fees. These trip fees only go towards gas reimbursement, parking fees (which support the beautiful parks we visit), and necessary overhead costs such as website maintenance and general club costs. As our Trip Lead economists say, we like to keep our trips at marginal cost!
+ How do I sign up for a trip?
Our trips are released in two waves throughout a semester (with an occasional special trip that's released individually). Trip Waves are usually timed around early September & mid-October for fall semester, mid-January & mid-March for spring semester. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter here and follow us on our Facebook or Instagram so you can be notified when the trip pages for each wave will be made available on our website here and when the actual sign ups will be opened.
Our trip pages are viewable on our website a few days before the day of the actual sign ups so that you can look through all of them and see what you're interested in. At a specific time, the sign up links on each individual trip's page will then go live - follow through and register quickly, as most trips fill up fast. (Seriously, our trips can sell out within minutes so be ready on the trip page before the sign up time and refresh the page immediately so you can snag a spot.)
+ What do I do once I sign up?
Sit back and relax - once you receive your confirmation email, we take it from there. Our trip leads will contact you with deets before each of your trips so your only job in the meantime is to be excited and think of great alliterations, puns, and/or dad jokes because we love all of the above and would love to hear them on the hike.
If you're signed up for a day hike, expect an e-mail from your trip lead around the beginning of the week before your trip (i.e. Monday for a Saturday/Sunday hike). If you're signed up for an overnight trip, expect an e-mail from your trip lead around two weeks before your trip.
+ I signed up for a trip but I can't go anymore, what should I do?
You can contact us here or reply to your original confirmation e-mail to let us know that you can't come anymore. We're sad you can't make it but we understand college plans can change quicker than a Kardashian wedding so we hope we'll see you on another trip soon!
+ If I cancel, can I get a refund?
It depends! Scope our refund policy here.
+ I wasn't able to register for a trip because it filled up, what should I do?
If a trip that you wanted to go on fills up before you're able to register, you can sign up for the waitlist to be notified if anyone cancels so you can get their spot. Generally, we will only email you if a spot opens. If you want further info on the size of the waitlist or the chances of getting off it, just shoot us an email. The waitlist has no fee and if you are selected to come off the waitlist, we'll send you instructions on how to pay.
+ What should I bring and wear on my trip?
You'll receive a pre-trip e-mail with a list of what you need for your specific trip. Your trip lead is the best person to ask since each trip is unique and requires different things.
Always bring water and printed copies of the general waiver and the travel waiver. Wear athletic shoes (runners or hiking boots) and comfortable clothing that you can be active in. Most hikes do not require any fancy gear so don't fret if you aren't decked out in the latest Patagonia gear - you'll still fit right in.
+ I'm driving for a trip - will I get reimbursed for gas and parking?
First, thank you so much for driving for us! Peaks is only possible because of student drivers like you, so we're very grateful. You are the life blood of our organization and we are grateful. So grateful that it's worth mentioning twice.
We want to make sure you get generously reimbursed for gas. We calculate a value for gas beforehand based on your trip's round mileage, using average gas prices & 20 mpg. We understand that some people have cars with less mileage than that, which is totally fine. If you'd rather calculate your price, just fill up immediately before and after the trip, and we'll reimburse you for the cost of the second receipt.
Your trip lead will get your Venmo username after your trip is complete so we can reimburse you. If you don't receive your Venmo reimbursement within 3 days after you provide that info to your trip lead, please email email@example.com with your trip name. If you would prefer a form of payment other than Venmo, just let us know beforehand.
+ I'm hooked - I want to lead trips and Think Outside... like all the time! How do I become a Trip Lead?
We are so excited that you want to be a Trip Lead! We recruit Trip Leads every fall - sign up for our e-mail newsletter subscription and follow us on social media to be notified when recruitment for new Trip Leads begins. We don't recruit in the spring but we do encourage transfers and spring admits to apply - just mark it down on your fall calendar. In the mean time, you can ask any of our current trip leads about the application process and trip lead experience - we'd be more than happy to talk to you about potentially joining our team!
We accept applications from freshmen, sophomores, juniors and graduate students. Unfortunately, we cannot accept applications in the fall from seniors who will graduate in the spring due to the training process for accepted Trip Leads. The application process is competitive but extremely fun and creative. It consists of a written application and an interview (granted to top candidates). More information will be made available as we approach the next recruitment period.
+ This idea is neat but I'm not a Trojan. If I want to bring Peaks to my university, how do I start my own chapter?
If your university has beautiful nature within a reasonable distance, inquisitive students, and adventurous professors - you might be our next chapter! Peaks & Proliferation is one of our most exciting new initiatives and we would love to talk to you about expanding to your university. If you think your university is the perfect place for a new Peaks chapter, contact us here so we can chat further about how you might be able to do that.
Do you have any questions we haven't answered above? Contact us below or message us on Facebook and we'll get back to you promptly!