Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience : Office of Student Life

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When do Buck-I-SERV trips happen? Will I miss any days of class? Buck-I-SERV trips take place during winter break, spring break, and summer break each academic year. Please refer to the university’s academic calendar for specific dates of breaks. Buck-I-SERV trips do not travel on days where class is still in session and no classes will be missed.
  • Who is eligible to go on a Buck-I-SERV trip? Any student who has paid the Activity Fee is eligible to attend trips including part-time, full-time, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students of all grade levels and ages. Professional faculty and staff are also encouraged to attend trips as Buck-I-SERV trip advisors.
  • How big are the trips/how many people are on each trip? Trip numbers vary but trips are commonly composed of groups of 10, 20, or 50 total participants. Please refer to the trip description list to see how many participants will be on a specific trip.
  • I noticed each trip has a physicality level number (1,2,3). What does this mean? Physicality rankings are intended to let you know how much physical work will be included in your site and service. Please consider the physicality level before choosing trips.  1 = no more than casual daily activity level 2 = more than your usual daily activity, you’ll sleep well at night! 3 = you will come back with muscles you didn’t know you had!                                            
  • What if I have health concerns that might prevent me from the activities on a trip? (allergies, broken bones, etc. ). We encourage all students to attend Buck-I-SERV trips regardless of health concerns but we do want to ensure you are on a trip that is the best fit for your health. For specific health questions please email us and we will be happy to accommodate your concerns.
  • What if I don’t know anything about the trip location or the service issues we will be working with? That is no problem! Our trip leaders will make sure you are well informed and prepared for your location and service during pre-trip meetings. A large part the Buck-I-SERV mission is focused on learning and we encourage you to choose a trip you are eager to learn more about.
  • There are so many Buck-I-SERV trips to choose from, how do I choose? There are many ways to narrow down your choices. We suggest thinking about cost, location and distance from Columbus, service topic, size of group, time of trip (winter, spring, or summer), and how the trip relates to your personal passions or career goals. You can’t go wrong!
  • When will I find out what trip I am assigned to? All trip assignments will be determined approximately two weeks after trip applications are due and participants will be notified via email.
  • Will I meet my group before we leave for the trip? Yes, all groups will meet with their group, trip leaders, and advisor(s) three to four times before the trip departs. Group meetings are a great time to get to know the people you will be serving with, learn about your site and location, hear about the week’s schedule, and have your questions answered. Make sure you attend!
  • What is the difference between being a “participant,” “leader,” and “advisor” on a trip? Please click on the link to see descriptions for each role http://buckiserv.osu.edu/Participants/participant_information
  • What does the trip fee pay for? A portion of all Buck-I-SERV trips is funded by the Student Activity Fee paid by all students. The additional costs per trip help to cover transportation, lodging, site fees, and a small donation to your service site. Food costs are not included unless specifically noted. All payments for trips are non-refundable and due prior to trip departure.  
  • Are Buck-I-SERV trips alcohol and drug free? Yes. All participants, trip leaders, and advisors are prohibited from consuming, purchasing, and possessing alcohol and drugs during all Buck-I-SERV events and trips including all individuals over the age of 21. Failure to follow the Buck-I-SERV alcohol and drug policy will result in immediate removal from all trips.
  • Does Buck-I-SERV help me find housing or pay for me to stay in the residence halls if my Buck-I-SERV trip departs after the residence halls have already closed or my trip returns before the residence halls have opened again? Unfortunately, no. Please be aware of trip dates and the dates for University Housing residence hall closures. You are responsible for your own arrangements for the time between residence hall opening/closing and the date/time you report to the Ohio Union for your trip departure and trip return.
  • I have friends/family that live near the location of my trip. Can I see them or have them join our group for dinner? Group members cannot skip group activities (including service activities, reflection, group dinners, etc.). You might be able to meet during free time if approved by the trip leaders however, keep in mind the purpose of the trip is to engage with your group and site.
  • What is the schedule for each day of the trip? Each day will vary depending on the trip(s) you choose. Broadly, Buck-I-SERV trips consist of two days of travel and five days of service. You can expect to have full days of service (up to 8 hours per day) and also half-days of service (4 hours per day). Hours of service vary depending on the needs of your site and organization. In addition to service hours,  BuckI-SERV encourage groups to explore their location by visiting historical sights, museums, local restaurants, parks, and additional attractions unique to the area.
  • I see many trips travel by van. Do I have to drive the vans? Each trip that includes a van for transportation will require the group to have at least two drivers who must be over the age of 21 and have a valid driver’s license. If you are uncomfortable driving a large van the trip will not require you to drive. 
  • How are participants and leaders selected for trips? Domestic trip participants are selected through a randomized process based on application preferences. Domestic trip leaders are selected based upon an evaluation of application essay/short answer responses, trip preferences and possibly an in-person interview process. International trip leaders and participants are selected based upon a group interview process. Those applying for consideration will be contacted separately to coordinate an interview time after the application deadline.
  • How big are the trips? Most Buck-I-SERV trips typically travel with 10 people including 2 Trip Leaders and a Faculty or Staff Advisor. There are, however, a few trips that will travel with 20 to 50 people, and we even have a large trip of 72 participants.  Larger trips typically split into smaller groups once participants get to the service sites, and the larger trips include more Leaders and Faculty/Staff Advisors.
  • Can my friend and I be assigned to the same trip? The short answer is no.  We randomly assign participants to trips, so there is no way to ensure that you and a friend end up on the same trip. You could be drawn for any of the trips you check on the application.  Once you are assigned to a trip, you cannot request another trip location, and if you decline the trip you receive, you will not be assigned to another trip. If you are only really interested in one trip, just check that one trip.  But if you are open to 5 or 10 or 20 of them, go ahead and check as many as you like. 
    • It's nice to travel with a friend, but just getting to go on a trip can be a really great experience and something many students look forward to each year.There is one exception to the information listed above.  If you have a group of participants that would like to participate together on a trip, check out the requirements for a group trip

    • We often receive questions about attending a trip with a friend.  The only strategy you could employee would be for both of you to check just one trip on the application.  That option is risky, because one or both of you could never be assigned to a trip at all.  We would hate to see you miss the experience because you only picked one trip!  But if that happens, make sure to watch the waitlist messages that will start coming from us later in the semester and consider going on any other trips with open spots.