Student Activities

Brown Outdoor Leadership Training (BOLT)

BOLT is the only outdoor education program in the United States that is designed to bring together sophomores and new transfer/RUE students and provide them with a shared outdoor experience and continued group activities throughout the fall.

For many Brown students, the sophomore year is a difficult period of transition from the camaraderie of the first year to the increasing independence of the next several years. As sophomores assume greater responsibility for the direction of their college experiences, they often struggle with significant personal and academic challenges.

The beginning of the year is a good time for sophomores and new transfer/RUE students to reflect on their first year experience, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and formulate new personal and academic goals. The friendships, connections and peer mentorship continue beyond the fall semester, which offers a year-round aspect of BOLT that gives sophomores an opportunity for continued reflection and reassessment of themselves and their personal development at Brown.

BOLT was founded in the winter of 1987 as a collaboration between students and Brown University staff. The first BOLT trip ran with just 40 participants in six groups, and we now have a program that can support 180 students over 18 groups. Over the years, BOLT has made hundreds of significant changes big and small to increase program diversity, equity, accessibility, safety, and impact.

However, some things never change – BOLT is committed to making the outdoors accessible to everyone and using nature as the canvas to foster meaningful and impactful leadership practice among outstanding leaders and enthusiastic participants who are committed to making BOLT a great experience and affirming community for everyone involved.

BOLT at Brown Website

BOLT Leaders

BOLTers (sophomore and T/RUE participants) are led by BOLT Leaders who are juniors and seniors at Brown who are committed to leading these participants on the Fall Trip and through the transition back to campus to foster a cohesive and adaptable community and leadership practice across multiple contexts and environments.

BOLT Leaders complete 180 hours of training the previous spring in backcountry technical skills, risk management, wilderness medicine and group facilitation. BOLT Leaders facilitate the Fall Trip experience for BOLTers and support Fall Programming.

Leaders also have opportunities to join the BOLT Steering Committee to guide the BOLT’s long term planning and program development, become BOLT Mentors to support training the next class of Leaders, and apply to be BOLT Managers who work alongside the BOLT Director to implement BOLT’s programming for all BOLTers and Leaders.

Meet Our BOLT Managers