Field Trips & College Sponsored Travel

Five College Risk Management has developed a Field Trip Planning Guide to assist college faculty and staff who wish to take students off-campus.

Five College Risk Management has developed a Domestic Field Trip Planning Guide to assist college faculty and staff who wish to take students off-campus. On this page, you will find information on transportation, emergency response plans, and pre-trip planning. Explore the guide below and contact the Risk Management office if you still find yourself with questions.

Forms For Your Field Trip

View information on our online waiver request forms to ease the administrative burden of planning field trips. Use our webform to request a Waiver or Informed Consent Form for your field trip.

Planning Guide - Academic Field Trips

Most risks associated with academic field trips can be controlled if measures are taken prior to and during the trip to promote the health and safety of all participants and to reduce the potential for accidents. Please review the following risk mitigation strategies carefully:

Provide Trip Details to Students

  • Faculty members should identify any required and/or voluntary field trips in the course syllabus and provide detailed information about date, time, location, means of transportation and any fees for which a participant is responsible.
  • Faculty members should identify and discuss with students early in the planning process any known hazards and risks associated with any proposed field trip (ex: remote location, wild animals, dangerous terrain, unpredictable weather, etc.). Students should be permitted to opt out of any voluntary activity they determine to pose excessive risks. If the field trip is mandatory, students should be advised of risks at the start of the semester and given the opportunity to opt out of the class. 

Prepare the Students

  • Prior to departure, faculty members should prepare and provide participants with a detailed trip itinerary that includes the faculty member’s contact information and any emergency contacts and numbers.
  • Faculty members should also conduct a pre-trip orientation with students. The orientation should include any health, safety, and/or weather conditions participants may face and precautions they might take. 
  • Faculty should create and review with participants the emergency response plan as outlined below. 
  • Faculty members should advise students if any special equipment is needed for the trip. If special equipment is needed, appropriate training should be conducted as well. 
  • Faculty members should inform students that if they believe they may need an accommodation to participate in a field trip, the student should speak either with the faculty member or contact the Accessibility Office. 

Visit the trip site

  • Whenever practical, the faculty member organizing the field trip should visit the site of the field trip in advance to evaluate and minimize any potential risks.

Be aware of your responsibilities

  • Faculty members have a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect and supervise students participating on the field trip. There should be at least one other person on the trip who has a copy of the emergency response plan and who can act in the faculty member’s place if he/she becomes unable to do so. 
  • Faculty members should inform students that they are expected to meet the same standards of conduct in all activities associated with the field trip as those expected of them on their on- campus activities. These standards include all applicable federal, state and local laws as well as college policies. The college will hold students responsible for the consequences of all inappropriate or irresponsible behavior, whether or not such behavior is directly associated with the field trip.

​​​​​​​Have an Emergency Response Plan

  • Before leaving for the field trip, the coordinator should download and print the form below as a checklist and reference sheet to consult in case of an emergency. 
  • Having an emergency response plan will provide guidelines for the trip coordinator and field trip participants should an emergency arise. That being said, the coordinator should exercise their best judgment in order to minimize risk or injury to all participants if a situation occurs that is not addressed in the response plan. 

Learn About Your Transportation Options

When it comes to voluntary or mandatory field trips, there are several means of transportation at your disposal. Risk Management has recommendations and guidance when it comes to vehicular travel.

Getting on a Plane?

View our additional guidance for Long Distance or International Travel.