Humboldt State University

First Year Connections

Freshman interest groups

  • hop
  • outdoor adventures5
HOWL—Humboldt Outdoor Wilderness Leadership

HOWL – Humboldt Outdoor Wilderness Leadership


HOWL Participants take a well deserved break overlooking the Pacific Ocean

"Every time I think about that trip, the HOWL trip, the one done on a whim, I just smile and realize how grateful I am for the experience. I will remember that backpack trip forever. I learned so much about myself and other people. Even reflecting back on the adventure like I am now has really helped me cope with some of the issues that have surfaced in college."

– Former HOWL participant

Friday - Tuesday, August 14 - 18

Before launching into your first year at Humboldt State, challenge yourself by participating in our 5-day wilderness trip. This is a unique opportunity to form new friendships and discuss the start of your college experience while backpacking in one of our nearby wilderness areas—a place known for its untouched beauty, rugged peaks, and pristine lakes and streams. You will have the chance to explore issues such as trust, teamwork and communication in a cooperative setting, while developing and enhancing your leadership skills through a variety of experiential activities.


HOWL brings university faculty, successful student leaders, and first year and transfer students together for five days of backpacking, journaling, discussions about the transition to HSU and time to connect with yourself and others. While this trip is appropriate for anyone, regardless of his or her outdoor experience, you should be physically and mentally fit enough to carry your own pack several miles each day. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information on this trip.

The HOWL trip does not replace your HOP Orientation, but is taken in addition to attending one of the regularly scheduled HOP sessions. We encourage you to register for the August HOP session, immediately following the HOWL trip. So, come take a walk with us on the wild side.

Program Fee: $395 includes food, transportation, instruction and group equipment (including tents and stoves). Students are expected to bring personal equipment including hiking boots, warm clothing, sleeping bag and pad, and backpack. Some equipment is available for rental. A complete list and information will be mailed to you upon registration.

• Two, partial, need-based scholarships are available through the assistance of the Webb Leadership Endowment Fund. To be considered for one of these scholarships, write us a brief statement demonstrating why the HOWL experience would be important to you. Scholarship submissions can be emailed to


Leadership Training with HOWL

Participants who successfully complete the HOWL program and are interested in further leadership opportunities may apply to become a Student Assistant Leader (SAL) for the following year's HOWL trip. During the year, these SAL's receive training in a variety of leadership skills ranging from leading discussions, improving group dynamics and resolving conflicts, to trip planning, logistics, and a number of field-based outdoor skills. SAL's who successfully complete the training and assist during their second HOWL season, are eligible for hire during their third season, and are offered the opportunity to serve as paid HOWL co-leaders.

Whether you are interested in a safe introduction to backpacking, an adventurous orientation to college, or professional training for a career as an outdoor leader, the HOWL program has something special to offer you.