Orientation Adventure Trips

Exploration Adventure (XA)

Exploration Adventure (XA) is the latest addition to Hamilton’s orientation program trips (OA and AA). 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. Trips with an asterisk will segue into a first-year class.

*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. Participants will be enrolled in a first year course (RELST 133) which will continue reflecting on these themes.


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.

*Religious Diversity in the U.S.A.

Professor Brent Plate

Religious diversity has been noted in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, but smaller cities like Utica have also diversified, seeing unprecedented population shifts in recent years due to refugee resettlement programs. Trip participants will explore mosques, synagogues, and churches in Utica, the Oneida Indian cultural center and a Russian Orthodox monastery.  This is a “hybrid” XA/OA trip, as students will participate in service projects at some of the above sites, as well as Habitat for Humanity. This trip operates in conjunction with Prof Plate's Fall course, "Religious Diversity in the USA" (RELST 120W).

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 Burned Over District: 19th Century Religious Utopias in Upstate New York

Professor Doug Ambrose and Director of Special Collections Christian Goodwillie

Upstate New York was the scene of intense religious revival during the early 19th century. and the waves of revivalism swept the region like a wildfire, leading one observer to dub the area,  “the burned over district.”  This trip will bring participants to the sites of three of the most prominent upstate religious movements: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Oneida Community, and the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing (Shakers). Students will get a unique opportunity to experience the historic built environments created by these groups and visit natural locations in forests and on hills where they encountered the divine.

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.

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).