Orientation Adventure Trips

Exploration Adventure (XA)

Exploration Adventure (XA) is the latest addition to Hamilton’s orientation adventure trips. XA trips are theme- or subject-based while sharing the same goal of OA and AA to create a small-group bonding experience for incoming students. Each trip is led by two student leaders, and many will be facilitated in part by a Hamilton faculty member or administrator.

XA boasts a wide variety of trip topics, featuring something for just about everyone!  Potential 2015 trip themes will include book arts & letterpress printing, animal care, yoga, music management, film & theater, biking & nature, and Central New York foods & farms.  This year, XA will offer approximately 30 trips; topics and descriptions will be listed here in late spring/early summer, so please check back for a complete list of options.  Sample descriptions of past XA trips are included below.



XA Staff >>

Frequently Asked Questions >>

XA Sample Packing List >>

XA 2015 Trips (coming soon!) >>


Examples of past Exploration Adventure Trips:

Food, Mind, Body: A Local Wellness Experience

Professor Naomi Guttman

This off-campus adventure invites students to explore mindfulness, yoga, and reflective writing as we investigate local food organizations in the Mohawk Valley. Integrating visits to such institutions as community gardens, organic farms, farmer's markets, food cooperatives, and restaurants that emphasize local foods, our group would be investigating the relationship between local agriculture, community nutrition wellness programs, and individual health. Yoga, gardening, cooking, and writing would be part of the program.

New York Frontier Warfare

Professor Maurice Isserman

In the 18th century, upstate New York was the scene for some of the bloodiest and most significant battles ever fought on the North American continent.  The struggle to control the strategic waterways of the Hudson River, Mohawk River, and Lake Champlain was a decisive factor in both the French and Indian war of 1754-1763, and the American Revolution of 1775-1783.  We will walk the battlegrounds and stand on the battlements of those wars, as we immerse ourselves in the dark and bloody days of 18th century frontier warfare while visiting Fort Stanwix, Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga National Historical Park, and other sites.

The Art and Science of Bees and Beekeeping

Professor Herman Lehman and Dean of Students (and beekeeper) Nancy Thompson

Honeybees are fascinating and beautiful, wildly productive, essential to maintaining the world's food supply, and endangered. In this hands-on introduction to the science of bees and the art of beekeeping, we will observe the establishment of bee castes, behavior, and health while also exploring threats to bees, including a new class of insecticides implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder. We will learn the essentials of establishing and caring for a hive and, in partnership with area beekeepers, we will remove, extract, and bottle honey. There are few experiences as thrilling as working on a hive, safely ensconced in protective garb while completely surrounded by bees. Join us to learn about their world, and also a great deal about your own.


American Freedom

College Chaplain Jeff McArn

An exploration of defining moments in the American understanding of freedom: abolition of slavery, human rights for women, marriage equality for the homosexual community.  Travels will take us to such upstate NY treasures as the National Abolitionist Hall of Fame, the Women's Rights National Historic Park, the home of Harriet Tubman ("Conductor" of the Underground Railroad) and Rochester, NY – home to Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and the Downtown United Presbyterian Church, a focal point in the fight for marriage equality. Hiking and service projects may be included along the way.

Arts and Culture in Utica (student leaders)

Think Utica, population 62,000, is too small to support a thriving and diverse arts community?  Think again!  Your trip leaders will take you on visits to the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, Sculpture Space, The Other Side, and other venues where you’ll experience art, film, sculpture, music, and other creative opportunities.  This trip will include lunches or dinners with Hamilton arts faculty, as well as a dinner out at one of Utica’s many ethnic restaurants and an interactive project at Sculpture Space (no experience or artistic skills necessary).