There’s an old saying that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. That’s exactly what Elisa Knapp learned at SUNY Cortland’s one-of-a-kind outdoor campus in the Adirondacks.
“I was nervous about making friends, finding my place on campus and just succeeding in general,” said Elisa, a senior geographic information systems (GIS) major from Syracuse, N.Y., thinking back to the summer before her first year of college.
So she took a chance.
She joined the first-ever group of Adirondack Trail Blazers, a program started in 2013 for new students to build friendships and explore the outdoors. Eight students made the three-hour trip to Raquette Lake, N.Y., in the first year. That number grew to 39 students this past fall.
This fall, we’re hoping to take at least 50 new Red Dragons on a six-day adventure to the Adirondacks the week before classes begin. All incoming freshmen and transfers — including those who arrived in January — are invited.
Participants do not need to be rugged explorers of the outdoors. They just need to be interested in meeting new people, trying new things and learning about the only National Historic Landmark in the SUNY system.