Rain— and plenty of it — greeted new students and families, but that did not deter Hamilton’s orientation leaders from providing a raucous and warm welcome to members of the Class of 2025 and transfer students when they arrived on the Hill on Aug. 17 for move-in and new student orientation. Orientation continues through Wednesday, Aug. 25, then classes for all students begin on Aug. 26.

The Class of 2025 received a huge welcome Tuesday for Move-in Day and the start of Orientation.

After COVID testing, new students headed to residence halls to check in and move in to their rooms. Welcome events were planned throughout the day, including a picnic lunch, and greeting by President David Wippman, Dean of Faculty Suzanne Keen, Dean of Students Terry Martinez, and Dean of Admission Peaches Valdes.

Opening ceremonies took place on Steuben Field where members of the Class of 2025 met their Orientation Adventure trip leaders and classmates, then kicked off their time at Hamilton with some 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 branches 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 ability levels. All trips are conducted in various locations 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” in the area 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 a small-group bonding experience for new students. XA boasts a wide variety of trip topics, featuring something for just about everyone – from art in the Adirondacks to New York Frontier Warfare.

First-year students talk about the strong sense of community they felt right away at Hamilton, and how that, along with the academic freedom provided by the open curriculum, helped make it the right choice for them.

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