So You Want to be an AESOP Leader…


Prior to the first year orientation AESOP trips, upperclass student leaders arrive on campusearly for training. This page contains information about how upperclass students are selected for the positions of AESOP leaders and the skills that they gain during our pre-AESOP training (‘leadership week’).

Central to the mission of AESOP is to create spaces for students to be able to connect with others through authenticity. In our hiring process, we will be looking for leaders with a wide variety of skill sets, all designed to create inclusive spaces that foster connection. We seek leaders who are excited about designing the many types of experiences that all make up the AESOP program.

If you feel comfortable with the skills listed under ‘skills we’re hiring for,’ then we highly encourage you to apply to be an AESOP leader. Previous outdoor experience is not an advantage in the selection of AESOP leaders. AESOP leaders are rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors. For AESOP 2019, applications are due on January 23rd, 2019 at 10:00 pm. We will hold interviews* for all applicants in January and February and send out decisions mid-February.

*A note on interviews: costumes are welcome, but don’t let them get in the way of your interview!


Skills We’re Hiring For

  • Ability to foster a culture and experience that is inclusive of all genders, cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and other identities
  • Commitment to AESOP as a first year experience meant for the benefit of the incoming class
  • Demonstrated cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Willingness and excitement to spend time personalizing your trip
  • Respect for and communication with co-leader (you should be excited about the special sauce they bring to the table!)
  • Excitement about and commitment to creating lasting connections with first-years
  • Agreement between co-leaders about what kind of trip you are interested in leading (something you are BOTH comfortable with and excited about)

Certifications Earned During Leadership Week

  • Wilderness First Aid Certification (WFA)
  • Green Dot Certification
  • Bates Van Certification

A Few of the Skills Practiced During Leadership Week

  • Facilitating positive small-group experiences
  • Building a cohesive and inclusive group dynamic
  • Interpersonal conflict resolution
  • “Leave No Trace” practices
  • Emergency safety skills and procedures
  • Trip specific skills (how to use a camp stove, how to pack a hiking backpack, basic knots, tent/tarp set up, navigation skills, canoe safety procedures)


Note: Every leader goes on a ‘leadership trip’ with other AESOP leaders to try out new skills and practice for the real deal! These trips are similar to the trips that you will be leading with your first years (ex. if you are doing a basecamping trip, your leadership trip will also be basecamping).


Sample Interview Questions

  • Scenario: What are some strategies you could use to make sure that all of your first years feel included when you first meet them?
  • What are some meaningful leadership opportunities you have had at Bates or elsewhere?
  • What’s something you admire about your co-leader?
  • What kind of trip would you be interested in leading? See: https://www.bates.edu/orientation/trips/