Creatively costumed orientation leaders boisterously cheering, honking car horns, and colorful inspiring signs welcomed 482 members of Hamilton’s Class of 2026, 8 transfer students, and 35 of our 45 “Jan” admits on Aug. 16 for move-in and new student orientation.

Alex at Orientation 2022This year’s sunny and warm arrival day looked very different from 2021, when not only was everyone masked as a precaution against the pandemic, but arrival and move-in took place during a steady rain and the day began with COVID testing.

Starting Wednesday, the first-year class will break into small groups and head out on their five-day orientation trips. When they return, they have a few days of on-campus programs and activities before classes begin for all students on Aug. 25.

After heading to residence halls to check in and move belongings into their rooms, new students and their families enjoyed a picnic lunch. President David Wippman, Dean of Faculty Ngoni Munemo, Vice President for Enrollment Management Monica Inzer, and Interim Dean of Students Jeff Landry welcomed students and their families in the Field House before attendees got to chat with the president, deans, and faculty members.

Andrew Jillings at Orientation 2022
Director of Outdoor Leadership Andrew Jillings leads icebreaker games during opening ceremonies.

Opening ceremonies took place on Steuben Field where members of the Class of 2026 met their Orientation Adventure trip leaders and classmates before enjoying some raucous games and bonding activities.

On Wednesday, the students will begin orientation adventure trips that provide a fun and friendly atmosphere for easing new students into college life. The three options are Adirondack Adventure (AA), Outreach Adventure (OA) and Exploration Adventure (XA).

Hamilton’s AA is an outdoor program featuring more than 20 trips that focus on biking, hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, or kayaking at beginning, intermediate, or advanced levels. All trips are conducted in the Adirondacks and guided by experienced student, staff, or faculty leaders. Students can bike into the heart of the Adirondacks, canoe on Blue Mountain Lake, or go sea kayaking on Lake Champlain.

Outreach Adventure gives students the chance to explore the area surrounding Hamilton’s campus while bonding with eight to 10 other new Hamilton students and two upperclass group leaders. Most OA groups stay together in a community center or church “camping inside” where they are volunteering. Students will be working on projects related to refugee populations, community building, and youth engagement, to name a few.

Exploration Adventure offers students the opportunity to explore a topic about which they are passionate. XA trips are theme- or subject-based while sharing the same goal of OA and AA to create small-group bonding experiences. XA boasts a wide variety of trip topics, featuring something for just about everyone — from exploring local arts and the role of sports and games in our lives, to cycling the Mohawk Valley, and connecting with local entrepreneurs and social innovators.

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