Wilderness Adventure

Meet new friends, discover Colgate, and explore the outdoors. Wilderness Adventure is a great way to kick-start your Colgate experience!

About Wilderness Adventure

Each August, more than 25% of incoming students participate in Wilderness Adventure to make friends, learn about Colgate, and have an absolute blast! Living and traveling with a small group of new students and two or three highly trained leaders, you will hike, paddle, climb, or bike through stunning New York wilderness. 

No previous wilderness experience is needed for any of our trips, just a willingness to have fun, learn, and meet new people.

Goals

  • Start college with a group of great new friends and upperclassmen mentors.
  • Practice outdoor skills under the guidance of experienced student leaders.
  • Try something new, and maybe a little bit challenging — just like college.
  • Learn about classes, dorms, food, clubs, activities, and more from your leaders.
  • Jumpstart your entrance into community living and active citizenship.
  • Discover the Adirondack Park and Central New York – your new home.

Virtual Wilderness Adventure 2020

Hello and Welcome to Colgate!

On behalf of Wilderness Adventure, and Outdoor Education, we want to welcome you to the Colgate community.

Like everyone at Colgate, we have been eagerly awaiting the announcement about the fall semester and hoping we’d be able to run our wilderness pre-orientation trips as we have for more than 30 years. With so many years of experience, we can say confidently that Wilderness Adventure (WA) is a great way to begin your transition into the Colgate community.

With that said, and after careful consideration, we’ve concluded that in order to ensure the health and safety of the community, maintain the goals and values of our programs, and to facilitate the smoothest possible return to campus, our traditional in-person Wilderness Adventure pre-orientation program is canceled, and we will be offering our Wilderness Adventure “trips” online this August.

Read our full letter on why WA will be virtual this year

Fee & Financial Assistance

We are excited to announce that this year, WA will be completely free! If you previously paid a deposit, you will be refunded soon. Since WA 2020 is free, we will not be offering financial assistance this year.

Though there is no trip fee this year, we are asking participants to supply a few necessary, trip-dependent materials, for example art supplies for the Art WA, or a yoga mat for the Yoga WA. If acquiring any of these supplies stands as a barrier to your participation in our program, please reach out to us at wildernessadv@colgate.edu to see if we can help.

Trip Dates

We are pleased to offer two sessions of virtual WA. In addition to the dates for each session, more information about the time commitments during these dates can be found below in the Schedule section.

Session I: August 9-12, with a brief kick-off meeting on the night of the 8th
Session II: August 17-20, with a brief kick-off meeting on the night of the 16th

Registration

All students, regardless of their current registration status for WA, will need to register/re-register for our new trip options. Be sure to reach the trip descriptions, below, before you register.

The new registration deadline for virtual WA 2020 is midnight on Sunday, July 12th. We hope to send out trip notifications (session & trip type) by July 20th.

Register for Virtual WA 2020

Virtual WA Trip Options

Difficulty: Unlike our usual trips, these new virtual options are not defined by "difficulty levels." We've designed every trip to have options to best fit the needs of participants, regardless of previous experience. That being said, we believe that participants have a more valuable WA experience if they sign up for a trip-topic that is somewhat new to them!

This doesn't mean you should avoid trip topics with which you are familiar; but does mean we encourage you not to register for trips on which you will be an expert! WA is designed to help first-years grow and challenge themselves before they start their Colgate journey, and if you are an expert on your trip, you will not be able to grow in as many amazing ways.

All that said, a couple of trips do require some previous experience. For example the biking trip assumes everyone who signs up knows how to ride a bike. We've noted such cases in the detailed descriptions below.

Engage with the natural world through art on this creativity focused WA. During the trip, you will practice photography, create a pencil drawing, and immerse yourself in the world of color through the use of paints, colored pencils, or collage! Our fabulous leaders will lead you through the creation of several fine works of art and will be available to help you during your solo creation time. No experience is necessary, but participants should be curious about the world of art and the great outdoors!

Participants in the Art WA will be asked to provide their own supplies. Recommended supplies include, but are not limited to:

  • Pencils
  • Watercolor paints
  • Watercolor paper
  • Blank paper
  • Recyclable materials

 

We’ll send a more detailed list once you're assigned to your trip, so don’t purchase/borrow/find anything until we send you your packing list.

Explore the great outdoors on wheels on our Biking WA. During this trip, you will engage with fellow first-years and two awesome leaders as you bike through your neighborhood, explore new bike paths, or investigate a nearby trail. Throughout the trip, you will also work with your WA to create new bike routes and reach a team mileage goal! Our fabulous leaders will lead you through several asynchronous group bike rides as well as teach on topics such as bike maintenance and road safety. For this trip, participants should know how to ride a bike and must have access to a bike and a bike helmet (or an indoor, stationary bike). Some prior knowledge of road safety and confidence in solo biking is strongly recommended. 

Participants in the Biking WA will be asked to provide their own supplies. Recommended supplies include, but are not limited to:

  • Bike water bottle
  • Bike helmet
  • Mountain bike, road bike, or stationary bike

 

We’ll send a more detailed list once you're assigned to your trip, so don’t purchase/borrow/find anything until we send you your packing list.

On this literature focused WA, you and a small group of fellow first years will read a short novel over the course of your four day trip! During the days, you will read, discuss the story, and engage in other literature themed activities such as a short story swap and film screenings of various book to movie adaptations. You will dive into the world of your novel and connect with your fellow participants and awesome leaders over a love for stories, literature, and the act of reading!

Participants in the Book Club WA will be asked to provide their own supplies. Recommended supplies include, but are not limited to:

  • The Book! (we don’t know which one yet, but we’ll get back to you)

 

We’ll send a more detailed list once you're assigned to your trip, so don’t purchase/borrow/find anything until we send you your packing list.

Get to know fellow first-years as you spend some time in the kitchen on the Cooking and Baking WA! On this trip, you will bake some delicious desserts, whip up some savory dinner foods, and learn new and exciting cooking skills. You will also watch some of the cooking greats design and create their meals, as well as connect with your WA group over a love of food and gratitude for locally-sourced products! Participants must have access to a kitchen. 

Participants in the Cooking and Baking WA will be asked to provide their own supplies. Recommended supplies include, but are not limited to:

  • General baking supplies such as flour, butter, salt, sugar, etc.
  • General baking/cooking ware such as a cookie sheet, a frying pan, etc.
  • An oven and stove top

 

We’ll send a more detailed list once you’re assigned to your trip, so don’t purchase/borrow/find anything until we send you your packing list.
 

What better way to connect with your new peers than to create and share stories with one another? Use writing prompts based on an intro to fiction class to pump your creativity muscles and come up with stories and snippets while working in a small, supportive community. Bounce ideas off one another and share your writing if you feel so inclined. Explore connections between imaginary characters and the world around you in order to bring some outdoor sense of place to your literary table. Find inspiration from renowned authors and have fun writing for the sake of writing before college assignments get the better of ya!

Participants in the Creative Writing WA will be asked to provide their own supplies. Recommended supplies include, but are not limited to:

  • Journal
  • Paper
  • Pens/pencils

 

We’ll send a more detailed list once you're assigned to your trip, so don’t purchase/borrow/find anything until we send you your packing list.
 

Who doesn’t love tuning out the world and savoring some sweet, sweet melodies? Connect with some of your peers over favorite artists, genres, and learn about some of the history behind your beloved beats. Over the course of this trip, you’ll enjoy getting to know other first years through their taste in music and you may even get to dabble in some music creation of your own! At the very least, you’ll walk away from this experience with some bangin’ playlists. Exclusive is NOT our middle name, so all music preferences are welcome, though we insist that you are considerate when choosing what to share and respectful of one another’s choices.

Participants in the Music Appreciation WA will be asked to provide their own supplies. Recommended supplies include, but are not limited to:

  • Headphones
  • A music streaming service (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) - does not need to be a paid subscription!

 

We’ll send a more detailed list once you’re assigned to your trip, so don’t purchase/borrow/find anything until we send you your packing list.

Get ready to share your musical talents with the world, or at least with the Colgate Community, on our Music Creation WA. On this trip, you will listen to some great music, discuss your musical influences, and most importantly, create some music of your own. Your fearless leaders will lead you through the process of virtual music creation and collaboration and will help you put your best musical foot forward. At the end of this trip, you will have created a piece of your own music and will have contributed to a collective work that features your entire WA! 

Participants on the music creation WA are strongly encouraged to have some musical background. Lessons from the instructors will not focus on the playing of an instrument and will instead center around virtual jamming and how to create collaborative pieces of music from far apart. You don’t need to be a musical genius like Beethoven, but you do need some musical experience. We are hoping for a variety of instruments so do not shy away if you rock out on the kazoo!

Participants in the Music Creation WA will be asked to provide their own supplies. Recommended supplies include, but are not limited to:

  • A musical instrument (or singing voice)
  • Headphones
  • A music streaming service (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) - does not need to be a paid subscription!

 

We’ll send a more detailed list once you’re assigned to your trip, so don’t purchase/borrow/find anything until we send you your packing list.

We’re nerdy and proud! Many of Outdoor Ed’s leaders will be bouncing out of Colgate with a degree in the sciences, and we’re excited to share our knowledge with you! On this trip you’ll get to geek out with us over a variety of STEMy topics including biology, geology, chemistry, and more. We’re calling this a mash-up because we simply cannot pick just one field. While this trip seems to have more of an academic focus, rest assured that you will have a good time - no lab reports whatsoever! Be excited to explore the natural world around you and get a little messy with some fun kitchen experiments. Even if mentos in a coke bottle sounds boring to you, we have no doubt you’ll be entertained by the unfiltered glee our leaders express at child-proof explosions!

Participants in the Science Mash-up WA will be asked to provide their own supplies. Recommended supplies include, but are not limited to:

  • 2 L bottle of Diet Coke
  • Role of Mentos
  • Vinegar
  • Egg
  • Smart phone

 

We’ll send a more detailed list once you’re assigned to your trip, so don’t purchase/borrow/find anything until we send you your packing list.

Learn some survival basics from the comfort of your own home on this newly designed WA. On this trip, you will learn the intricacies of building survival structures, practice the art of tying knots, dive into the world of navigation, and learn to identify some very important plants and animals! We will also encourage you to spend A LOT of time outdoors, and will guide you as you engage with the natural world around your home! We know not everyone lives close to green spaces, and some may need to stay indoors due to local or state guidance. If you can’t get outside, no worries, we have alternative options so that this can still be the trip for you!

Participants in the Survival WA will be asked to provide their own supplies. Recommended supplies include, but are not limited to:

  • A compass or smartphone
  • A tarp or blanket
  • A piece of p-cord or thin rope that is approximately 6 ft long

 

We’ll send a more detailed list once you’re assigned to your trip, so don’t purchase/borrow/find anything until we send you your packing list.

“Sust is a must,” as we like to say! Start your college journey with like-minded first years looking to diminish harmful human-related impacts on the planet. You’ll look into a handful of themes such as food security and agriculture, plastic waste, and take action in your home and around your local community to make small changes that add up to create lasting impact. Many of our zesty leaders study environmental sciences at Colgate and are passionate about ways to lessen our burden on dear Mother Earth. While this trip has some exciting curriculum in the works, we anticipate learning from one another, and the focus may be altered by what you as participants are most excited about!

Participants in the Sustainability and Conservation WA will NOT be asked to purchase or gather any supplies. We want you to consciously avoid buying things, so instead, we’d like you to use what you already have to help make the world a better, more sustainable place!

Meet and connect with fellow first years as you practice yoga together and learn more about its history, cultural significance, and common practice. Participants will get a chance to design their own mini sequences, set intentions, and do some guided and solo meditation to ease their minds at this especially significant junction in their life journey. This trip welcomes fitness gurus of all types but emphasis will be placed on the practice of yoga and strengthening exercises. Given our belief in the importance of the outdoors and developing a sense of place, participants will be encouraged to explore their local landmarks and bring their practice with them! 

Participants in the Yoga, Meditation, Fitness WA will be asked to provide their own supplies. Recommended supplies include, but are not limited to:

  • Yoga mat, carpet, beach towel, or surface for yoga (yoga mat recommended)
  • Journal

 

We’ll send a more detailed list once you're assigned to your trip, so don’t purchase/borrow/find anything until we send you your packing list.
 

Schedule

For four days (and one brief hour the night before your trip starts), you and a small group of other first years will be led by two passionate and trained leaders on an adventure from the comfort of your own home! 

Regardless of trip focus, groups will meet for synchronous morning and evening sessions to engage in bonding activities, learn more about Colgate, and to prepare you for college life. Leaders will begin each morning with a fun group activity and will then wrap up the morning meeting with a set of trip-specific activities to keep you busy throughout the day. Also, leaders will encourage you to interact with your group-mates during your adventure and will help you do just that! We are aware that all home circumstances and schedules look different and we have been very thoughtful to include twists and options to hopefully provide something for everybody. At night, after a day full of your specific activity, you’ll gather around an imaginary campfire with your group and get a chance to share your news from the day. This will be a special time for connection and reflection, but much of it will be light-hearted and fun!

It won’t be quite the same as walking down a trail or sitting around a nightly campfire, but we are counting our lucky stars to have such incredible technology to enable meaningful connection. As nerve-wracking as it can be to meet new people, especially through a screen, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves and a whole crew of goofy, lovable leaders who believe welcoming first years to Colgate is the best job on campus. Because it is.

Food & Dietary Information

Because we will not be camping together this year, we will not be eating meals as a WA group. That being said, we hope to send all participants a “closing ceremony” care package that includes some pre-packed food and other surprises for our last virtual campfire together. For this reason, we will be collecting food allergy information and dietary restrictions in our registration survey. Please reach out to us with any questions or more specific concerns.

Equipment and Gear

On a typical WA, we provide all the group equipment, but ask you to come with most of your personal equipment and clothing. For higher price items, like backpacks and sleeping bags, we have a supply that you can borrow for your trip. This year, we cannot easily supply you with the materials we’d love you to have, as we would need to ship supplies all over the country. Each trip will have some recommended supplies such as baking ingredients, a yoga mat, or other materials that we have carefully considered and worked into our curriculum only if we feel they are necessary. We don’t want these recommendations to impose a barrier to participation for anyone, so please reach out to us at wildernessadv@colgate.edu if you have any questions or concerns regarding the recommended supplies, and we’ll do our best to make adjustments or support you however we can.

After you are assigned to a trip, you will receive a “packing list,” as is typical of Wilderness Adventure. The packing list will describe the items that you’ll need to find, borrow, or buy for your specific program. We think you’ll either already own, or be able to borrow many of the items, but even if you had to purchase all of them, we are doing our best to ensure that the maximum cost for each set of trip supplies is under $50 and in many cases, far below it.

Required Forms and Documentation

Normally, we'd ask you to submit a medical history form and assumption of risk and release of liability form. Since we won't be gathering in person or this WA, we don't need a medical history form. We will be sending out an assumption of risk form later in the summer, once we have all the trip assignments completed.

Frequently Asked Questions about WA 2020

Much about Virtual WA is new to us, so we don't yet know what questions to expect. If you have a question that isn't addressed here, or elsewhere on this page, please send us an email at wildernessadv@colgate.edu. For now, here are answers to a few questions we've already received about this year's program. We'll add more as we get them.

Yes, Virtual WA 2020 will fulfill one of the two required PE credits.

For now, just complete the online registration. We'll send out the Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability form later in the summer along with the equipment list specific to your trip. You DO NOT need to complete a WA Health History form this year.

Note: The WA Health History form is NOT THE SAME as the required medical information that all new students must submit to Health Services. You can find that information here.

No! We recognize that all household situations are different. People have different access to the internet, free time, etc.

Your WA trip will meet as a group twice during the day (most likely once during the morning and once at night). The rest of the day will be spent doing asynchronous activities that relate to your trip topic, such as baking, yoga, art, etc. It's up to you how much time you want to spend on the asynchronous activities each day. During that time, you will be able to video call, voice call, or chat with your group to share your experiences and talk about your adventures!

No. WA participants will be engaging in WA activities from the comfort of their own homes! In order to ensure a smooth transition to the Colgate campus, WA participants should plan to arrive with the rest of their class and to follow all Colgate University move in procedures.

We want you to be interested in the topic that you choose for Virtual WA, but for most of the trips, no previous experience or skill is necessary. For a few trips, we ask that you have some basic knowledge about the topic. For example, we ask that you be able to ride a bike if you sign up for the Biking WA.

Most importantly, however, we ask that you sign up for a trip in which you have a high level of interest but do not consider yourself an expert. For example, if you are an Eagle Scout, we discourage you from signing up for the Survival WA. We want this to be a learning experience for all and encourage you to sign up for something new!

Contact Us

We are here to help with any questions about the Wilderness Adventure experience.
wildernessadv@colgate.edu
315-228-6499


Mailing Address

13 Oak Dr.
Basecamp
Hamilton, NY 13346