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Current Students

Please review important information related to our policies, equipment/clothing, important dates and forms.


Drug & Alcohol Policy

The University of Michigan requires a drug- and alcohol-free workplace and  study environment, and this policy applies to NELP, even though many NELP students are of legal drinking age.  Years ago, before NELP’s present drug and alcohol policy, we found that students who used these substances at NELP were often not at their best academically and were not ready to contribute fully first thing in the morning.  And so, back then, our close community lost a degree of academic integrity.

Many students come to NELP today expressly because the program advertises itself as substance-free.  They depend on finding such an environment.  Drug or alcohol use would inevitably disrupt the sense of community at NELP.

NELP has additional reasons for rigorously enforcing this policy:  Swimming,  canoeing, and hiking can be dangerous, and it is crucial that participants’ judgments and physical abilities not be impaired.  When NELPers arrive at Camp Kabeyun, the winter ice is barely off the lake, and there’s a real danger of hypothermia.  Likewise, since camp buildings are all wooden, fire poses a hazard. Serious accidents could also threaten the future existence of the program.  Thus, for your own safety’s sake, for the well-being of historic Camp Kabeyun, and for the long-term security of the program, we strictly enforce the drug and alcohol policy and other safety regulations.  If you break these rules, you will be sent home.

Most important, we view the drug and alcohol policy as intrinsic to the program, as part of NELP’s whole experiment in a different way of living, which offers students a wonderful and increasingly rare opportunity to explore a life and an understanding of self that is stripped down, in some ways, to the bare essentials. At NELP, students are able to reestablish their independence from the stimulation of drugs, alcohol, television, recorded music, cells phones, and the internet (and social media). For six weeks we put aside these things to draw closer to ourselves, to our community, and to the world around us. This results in more time and space in our lives, where, for example, we make our own music in the dining hall at supper—and suddenly people start hearing things they didn't hear before--birds, wind, and waves from the lake--which make their own kind of music. We discover new time to explore, to read poetry aloud, to write something we might not have written before—perhaps even to learn to paint, to climb a tree, study the patterns of moss on a rock, take a nightwalk, perfect our campfire-building skills…


Equipment & Clothing List

A complete equipment and clothing list will accompany each acceptance letter. Expensive items are a sleeping bag, hiking boots, and a backpack.

The secret to effective dressing at NELP is layers. Style isn’t important at NELP; warmth is. There are ways to be thrifty when getting together your equipment for NELP, and it's also easy to spend several hundred dollars—most students, though, can plan to spend at least $250-350 on the required items. 

There might also be opportunities to borrow or buy used equipment from previous NELPers. Stay tuned. 

Important Dates

by 4pm Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2022 

by 4pm Tuesday, March 10, 2022 


 NELP Deposit #1 due

 NELP Deposit #2 due


12-5pm, Saturday, April 2, 2022 

5:30-7pm, Wednesday, April 20 2022 


 NELP Orientation

 Final Meeting


8am Friday, April 29, 2022 

 Vans Depart for New Hampshire

Tuesday June 14, afternoon   Vans Return to Ann Arbor

Medical & Release Forms

Remember to fill out your Medical and Release forms, which you can find at this link. Your forms should be submitted before the Final Meeting in April. 

COVID-19 Information

NELP students in 2022 will be required to be vaccinated and boosted in order to participate in the program. Additionally, see below for guidelines and requirements students are asked to follow for several before the NELP vans leave for New England, to minimize the risk of COVID entering our isolated, closed-circuit community. 

Here are important dates and policies in a nutshell. But you should also read what follows for more detail and explanation. 

  **You will need a negative COVID test (PCR) from a sample taken not earlier than Tuesday, April 26 to board the NELP vans
  **Anyone who tests positive for COVID on April 19 or later will not be able to board the vans to NELP
  **Strongly recommended:  Starting no later than April 14, you avoid being indoors, unmasked, in any public space
  **REQUIRED: practice heightened COVID precautions from Friday, April 22 until you depart for NELP: At the very least, this means never being unmasked in an indoor public space
  **You should submit your documentation (either of your negative COVID test on 4/26 or later, or a positive COVID test from 1/26–4/18) at this link:

1. Unless you have documentation of testing positive for COVID on 1/26/22 or later*, you will need a negative COVID test (PCR) from a sample taken on Tuesday, April 26 or Wednesday, April 27 (with a strong recommendation to have your test on Tuesday, because results come back in 1-2 days, and if your results aren’t back by Friday morning, you won’t be able to depart with the NELP vans). Please make an appt. for your COVID test ASAP. You can use either UM’s testing sites or the LYNX DX drive-thru testing on Wagner Rd. in Ann Arbor (both of which are linked after my signature below), or—if you’re not in Ann Arbor, a PCR test from a local pharmacy (though in that case, it would be your responsibility to work out those details and to ensure that you’ll get your results back in time.)
*If you’ve tested positive for COVID since 1/26, you’ll need to send in documentation of that positive COVID test.

2. Anyone who tests positive for COVID on April 19 or later will not be able to board the vans to NELP on Friday morning, April 29. In this case, it would then become your responsibility to get yourself to NELP (arriving ten days after your positive diagnosis) and we would do our best to get you caught up. But—because getting you caught up would be hard, because you’d miss important parts of the program, and because it will be challenging (and expensive) to get yourself to Alton Bay, NH (and would mean a flight to Manchester, NH, plus a long, pricey shuttle ride from the airport to camp), it might be that a pre-NELP COVID diagnosis would mean that withdrawal from the program would be the better option. If necessary, I’ll handle these situations on a case-by-case basis to help folks figure out the best way forward in the event that someone gets COVID during these ten days before NELP—but I do hope this isn’t something we have to deal with at all!

3. We really, really don’t want anyone to have to withdraw from NELP—and so, this is our strong recommendation: Starting no later than April 14, you should not be indoors, unmasked, in any public space—this would include no indoor dining in restaurants, no nights out at Scorekeepers, etc. Additionally, you should avoid even small-group or one-on-one social encounters that are indoors and unmasked with anyone other than people you live with, and you should make sure that the people you live with understand that as of April 14, you are entering a high-stakes quarantine period where it’s imperative that you dramatically reduce your risk of contracting the COVID virus—and you need them to support you during that time by limiting the chances that they themselves will be exposed.  (You might be very, very careful—avoiding all restaurants, masking up anytime you run into the grocery store, sharing unmasked public space only with your roommate—but if your roommate is out all night at Scorekeepers on Thursday, April 13 and gets COVID, all your care and caution will be for nought…) It will SUCK if you get COVID right before NELP starts, and the only way to keep that from happening is by being extra careful. Remember, we were all just notified by the Director of University Health Services that COVID cases in our area are increasing; as much as it feels like we’re out of the weeds, we are not. 

4. It will also suck if someone manages to bring COVID with them to NELP—though the only way that will really happen is if you manage to contract the virus after you take your PCR test—or if you get COVID 24-48 hours before testing, since the test won’t be able to detect the virus if you contracted it only very recently. And so: In addition to the strong recommendations above, which are mostly for your own sake, for the good of the NELP community, we ask that you practice heightened COVID precautions from Friday, April 22 until you depart for NELP: At the very least, this means never being unmasked in an indoor  public space (so no eating indoors at restaurants) and no indoor unmasked encounters with people you don’t live with. The most common way people are getting COVID right now is by hanging out with friends they thought were “fine,” only to find out a few days later that someone had COVID and didn’t realize it. In addition to these minimal precautions, it’s ideal for you to limit all unnecessary activity in public spaces in the week before NELP, but the restriction against being unmasked in public spaces is the only strict requirement. For the good of NELP, though, and to ensure your own health and wellbeing, please be as strict as possible during this time—think more early pandemic precautions, rather than the loose-goosiness that is becoming more the norm right now. (And to be clear, my friends on the East Coast, where the latest variant has once again led to major increases in COVID infections, are already going back to those strict precautions of those early days in the pandemic…)

5. Finally, You should submit your documentation (either of your negative COVID test on 4/26 or later, or a positive COVID test from 1/26–4/18) at this link:

Please let me know if you have questions—and I cannot stress this enough: Make sure you’ve read this carefully, and in particular that you’ve made note of important dates. Your health and wellbeing at NELP are very important to us, and so we’ll be very strict about requiring that these COVID policies and procedures are followed dutifully. 

Thanks so much, all. 

Important Announcements for incoming 2022 NELPers

January 27, 2022. Another note for graduating seniors and any non-UM students: 1. If you were planning to graduate after this term with NELP as your last hurrah, it will make most sense to contact your advisor to change your graduation term from Winter (graduating in May) to Summer (graduating in August). 2. Anyone who will not be a currently enrolled UM student over the spring/summer term (if you actually need to graduate in May for some reason, or if you attend another college/university and are doing NELP as a guest), will need to submit the Guest Application through the UM Admissions Office webpage. Google it, and let Aric know if you can't find it. This is just a formality, though--you've already gotten into the program, so make sure you note on your Guest Application that you're a NELPer!

January 25, 2022. WELCOME, ALL! A couple things from the get-go: 1. Make sure you've read your acceptance docs--the letter and the two attachments, very carefully and asap. 2. One small correction for graduating seniors: Your acceptance letter doesn't note this, but if you were planning to graduate after this term and NELP will constitute your last UM classes as an undergrad, it will likely make the most sense to delay your graduation until August, which then qualifies you to to particpate in December Commencement activities. You'll miss them in May, but you won't have to miss them entirely! More soon!!