First-Year Orientation - Outreach Skip Navigation

Outreach Pre-Orientation

Outreach is a four-day pre-orientation volunteer program for incoming first-year students.

About Outreach

Outreach offers incoming students an opportunity to meet new classmates while learning more about central New York by working on service projects in the region.

Get ready to make new friends and get to know your new home.  During Outreach, you will have the opportunity to work with local non-profit organizations doing important work in the Hamilton and Utica communities while meeting students that have similar interests as you.  There is plenty of time in the evenings to build friendships and settle into your new home before Orientation gets going while you get a head start on feeling at home off campus.  Students find this experience fun and rewarding.  As one past Outreacher put it, "I really enjoyed the opportunity to start Orientation with new friends who were like me after we had already started to contribute to our new community."


Students participating in Outreach should plan to arrive on Wednesday, August 22nd. The Outreach program will begin that afternoon and conclude on Saturday night, August 25th.

August 22nd - Registration, move-in and welcome events
August 23rd - Day of volunteering in Utica, dinner with community organizations, group activities
August 24th - Day of volunteering in Hamilton, dinner with Colgate families, group activities
August 25th - Day of volunteering around Hamilton, dinner and closing activities

All students will participate fully in the regular first-year orientation beginning Sunday, August 26th.

What Does Outreach Cost?

A fee of $125 covers the cost of all of the following beginning at registration Wednesday, through dinner on Saturday:
  • Transportation
  • Social activities
  • Meals and snacks
  • Outreach t-shirt and water bottle
Financial assistance is available

Goals of Outreach

  • Learn about the local community and give back right from the start
  • Build friendships with like-minded students and settle in at a slower pace 
  • Learn about ways to get involved in volunteering

Sign Up!

The program is limited and participation is granted on a first-come, first-served basis, so apply early to secure a spot.


Questions? Reach out to our student coordinator, Gaby Bianchi.

Community Sites and Tasks

Much of the work we do is around Colgate's hometown of Hamilton. As a contrast to the needs of our small rural community, we also spend one of the three days working at agencies in Utica, 30 miles north of Hamilton. While it is a small city, Utica has suffered greatly from economic depression and the urban blight that has affected many cities across the United States. While the work is challenging, it is also very rewarding.

Some examples of the volunteer work students will be participating in are; trail clearing, helping to prepare meals at soup kitchen, playing with children at a community center, helping at an organic farm and play games at a senior center.

View Outreach Locations in a larger map

Frequently Asked Questions

Where will I be staying during Outreach? Do I get to move into my long-term room early?
You will move into your year-long housing and stay there through the Outreach program. We ask that you do not completely set up your room before your roommate arrives.
I am flying in. How do I get to Colgate?
The Colgate website provides information regarding travel options and directions to campus.
Do my parents need to come back for arrival day?
It is not necessary, but it is entirely up to you and your family. You should discuss how comfortable you will feel being on your own on arrival day. There will be a large number of students who have arrived early – athletes, Wilderness Adventure participants, etc. whose parents will not be here on arrival day. Some parents don't want to miss this day and are welcome to return, but you will be able to take care of the details of check-in on your own.
My parents are working; can I come earlier than Wednesday?
In some circumstances, special arrangements can be made with some advance notice. However, rooms may still be getting cleaned and processed, so arriving on Wednesday is best. On Wednesday, we will also have student staff to help you move your belongings into your rooms and professional staff to help you with any problems or concerns. Arriving any earlier, we will be involved in leadership training and will be unable to offer assistance moving in.
I would like to do Wilderness Adventure and Outreach. Is this possible?
Yes, but you must act quickly and request the first session of Wilderness Adventure!
Can I get a refund if I can't make it to Outreach?
We will process refunds upon cancellation only up until a certain date.
What do I need for Outreach?
A willingness to get dirty, ratty clothes that you don't mind getting messy, close-toe shoes (sneakers are fine), and a passion for service work!