AESOP 2021

Our mission is to engage and empower every incoming Bates student to be their authentic selves through off-campus**, student-led orientation programs. AESOP is committed to designing experiences that are accessible, fun, and catered to all skill levels. Through small-group experiences, we foster inclusivity, enduring friendships, and a strong connection to place. AESOP welcomes each incoming student with warmth and compassion to the Bates community, providing them the foundation and confidence to navigate their first-year experience.

Bates AESOP is committed to creating and maintaining experiences that are welcoming, equitable and inclusive to individuals of all identities and backgrounds including, but not limited to, sex, gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion,  and age. Bates AESOP focuses on addressing the ever-present barriers to outdoor recreation and to forming social connections when transitioning to college, and works with students to find solutions to reduce and remove the numerous barriers that prohibit individuals from full participation in the beginning of their college experience. Our mission is aspirational and always a work in progress, and we devote time and energy to hiring leaders who support this mission, as well as planning, organizing, and executing trips that foster an inviting environment.  Bates AESOP strives to create a program where everyone feels included and heard.

**AESOP 2021 will align with institutional and public health practices to ensure the safety of the incoming class**

Our Values Include:

  • Having fun!
  • Building community across communities
  • Creating inclusive spaces and experiences
  • Showing compassion for one another
  • Leaning into new experiences
  • Being committed to risk management and well-being
  • Embracing positive leadership
  • Providing support for all students
  • Connecting first-year students to their new home
  • Encouraging growth

Due to the uncertain circumstances regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are currently working to craft multiple possibilities for AESOP 2021 trips and we will update this page with any pertinent information. We were fortunate enough to coordinate AESOP 2020 for the current first-year class, which included on-campus options, from crafting in the Woodshop to video game competitions and even outdoor plays, one of which President Clayton Spencer participated in! We’re looking forward to providing you with a fun and rewarding AESOP experience.

This page is meant to provide you with all the information you need to know about Bates’s Annual Entering Student Orientation Program (AESOP). AESOP is led by student AESOP Coordinators in collaboration with the Office of Residence Life and Health Education.

The AESOP experience typically involves upperclass student leaders welcoming the incoming class to life at Bates through a 4 day, 3 night trip. Our trips have taken place all over Maine and New Hampshire and include everything from community engagement to rock climbing.

We are SO EXCITED TO MEET you and introduce you to some of our favorite places on and/or off campus. 

Feel free to explore the trips we have to offer, read the bios of our student coordinators and leaders, and learn about the history of AESOP! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

The AESOP charge for 2021 – 22 will be assessed at $175 due to the nature of the trips.  If you have any questions about this charge, please email

There will be no AESOP bill for fall 2020. The $300 cost of AESOP will be billed directly to the Student’s Account. If you feel you need assistance in covering this fee, please email