Students,faculty and staff benefit from field trips and other travel which enhances the RIT academic experience. The following information provides guidelines to to help mitigate the risk associated with this travel. RIT students, faculty and staff can address these issues by planning their trip accordingly.
Travel to Foreign Countries requires additional research and coordination. When planning an RIT-sponsored trip abroad, faculty, staff and students should keep the following in mind:
- The university uses the US Department of State’s guidelines when approving funding for foreign travel. Before you begin making arrangements for your trip, please consult the State Dept’s website. Review the country specific information and check for travel warnings or alerts. Travel to areas with warnings or alerts requires coordination with Risk Management and approval from the appropriate Vice President.
- Students who are planning to study abroad must contact RIT Global.
- Worldwide travel assistance coverage is provided for RIT students, staff and faculty traveling on RIT sponsored trips overseas.
- Check with your health insurance company regarding coverage overseas. Most carriers provide emergency coverage on a reimbursement basis (you pay the provider, then submit a claim for reimbursement.
- For more information, consult the Controller's website.
Pre Trip Orientation
- Assuming this is a voluntary trip, provide a pre-trip orientation to include a very detailed session on the travel, hotel and itinerary aspects of the organized activities. Detail should be provided in written form so that students/and or parents will have a full understanding of what is involved.
- If RIT is merely lending financial support to the student to attend the conference, clearly articulate this relationship to the student. Inform student(s) that RIT is not supervising the activities in any fashion; that they can expect other third parties to provide the programming, services, hotel, food and possibly modes of transportation during the planned trip.
- During this orientation, cover expectations of student's behavior during any free time. It is expected that while on the trip should be professional and will be reflective of RIT. RIT's Standards of Conduct will apply while on the trip.
- At all times, students are responsible for their own personal safety; recommend that during free time they go out in groups (versus going out alone).
- Students should also be expected to carry their medical insurance card with them and be familiar with how they need to use it in case of an emergency. Some HMO's require preauthorization, for example. If the trip involves foreign travel, special consideration needs to be given to learn how medical insurance will apply if medical attention is needed while overseas.
In most cases, travel plans should be left to the individual students for local field trips. If RIT coordinated ground travel is planned, you are advised to contact the Parking and Transportation Services Department to inquire about the use of an RIT van or approved charter bus. Van drivers must obtain driver certification from Parking and Transportation.
RIT discourages faculty and staff from actively coordinating carpools using students as drivers and/or paying student drivers mileage allowances for use of their personal cars. Carpooling can be an efficient means of transportation, but can create significanat risks. It is important that members of the university community know these risks and act in a prudent manner with respect to this issue. The use of an RIT van, when driven by a certified driver can provide a suitable alternative for group travel. When the use of a van is not possible, transportation is the responsibility of each student. While we understand that some students may choose to ride with other students, they should make those arrangements on their own and be aware that the university has not screened the driver nor verified their insurance.
Trips requiring the supervising faculty/staff member to acquire the use of rental cars should be handled in the following manner:
- The RIT faculty/staff should rent the vehicle, not the student.
- Rental should be billed against an RIT corporate credit card. This assures that RIT's Car Rental Loss Program will respond should there be physical damage to the rental car during the term of the loan. You can decline the additional insurance options.
- Students should not be allowed to drive the vehicle unless they have obtained RIT driver certification and are listed with the car rental agency as an additional driver.
- Rentals of vans larger than a 7-8 passenger mini-van is strictly prohibited. Larger vans have a high risk of roll-over crashes.
- If the trip requires the use of a larger capacity vehicle or the rental of a truck, please contact the Risk Management Office at x5-6135 to discuss the details before making the rental reservations.
- Any motor vehicle accident occurring during the trip should be reported to your dean or department head and Risk Management within one business day. If injuries occur, immediately notify Public Safety at (585) 475-3333.
RIT faculty/staff using their own personal car for university business travel should refer to RIT Vehicle and Driver Safety for further information.
Agreement to Participate Form (Release from Liability)
For trips outside of the Rochester regional area or that involve overnight stays, the faculty coordinator should prepare an Agreement to Participate Form which serves as an informed consent and liability release. The release form needs to be modified with appropriate information about your trip before being given to the student participants for signature. Each student wishing to participate in your trip should return a signed copy. Please note that the release form references the student has been given detailed information prior to the trip so you should be expecting them to sign off on the release form only after they have been given this information. These forms should be used for students age 18 and over and should be retained by your office/college for a minimum of 3 years.
Please provide your college dean's office with a complete trip itinerary for your travel to include: dates/locations of travel, names of all students/faculty/staff traveling, hotel(s) phone number(s), and if you will be carrying a cell phone, that cell phone number to reach you in case of an emergency. A copy of this information should be forwarded to Public Safety (Grace Watson Hall) as well.
During the trip, should you or any student have an incident involving bodily injury, please notify your college dean's office to report the details within one business day. In the case of a serious injury/illness, that notification should be immediate. During the weekend, you can always notify Public Safety directly at (585) 475-3333, so that further RIT notifications can be made. If necessary, they can contact the Risk Management Office for further guidance to provide you.
Conferences tend to offer a great opportunity to network and socialize at conference sponsored events. Many times, vendors host hospitality suites that include alcohol. Please caution the students that they are expected to uphold all laws regarding alcohol consumption as well as the expectation that they will conduct themselves in a responsible/professional manner while on the trip.
RIT takes very seriously issues related to alcohol consumption in our student population. It is recommended that no university funds be spent toward the purchase of alcohol for students on these trips.
If you would like to discuss these recommendations further, please give the Risk Management Office a call at (585) 475-6135.