The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Summer School: Student Employees Experience a Sunny Hamilton

Tess Dunkel

It is no secret that Hamilton is beautiful in every season. For this reason (and many others), a handful of students elect to stay in the village over the summer. Whether working on research for their academic department of choice, giving tours at the Colgate University Office of Admission or spending their time on any of the variety of opportunities offered upstate, one thing is certain: Hamilton is sunny and beautiful in June and July.

Roughly 200 undergraduate students spend eight to ten weeks in Hamilton each summer to do research in their chosen fields, with the help of Colgate’s staff and resources. The research positions specifically offer students experiences that are not available at many larger colleges, since the tight-knit environment of summer research students allows an unmatched immersion within their departments and an enhanced relationship with the professors who oversee the work. These positions are typically sponsored directly by Colgate, through corporate or foundation funding, by private benefactors or by utilizing faculty research funds.

One student from the 2023 summer research class, junior Neha Viradia, worked for Professor Ramesh Adhikari in Colgate’s Physics department. Viradia worked on a project to develop sustainable functional devices that minimize environmental impact.

“I loved how involved I was with my research project and how much I learned from that experience,” Viradia said. “I feel like there’s nowhere else I can be so immersed in research.”

Many question what there is to do between the months of May and August, when so few students stay on campus. A short glance at previous student experiences eliminates this myth, as Central New York quite literally blooms as students are heading home in May. Throughout the summer months, Hamilton and the surrounding area come together for a plethora of community-based events such as farmers’ markets, live music nights and a town-wide parade. Some people even say that the summer is the greatest season to visit the area.

Without the stress of classes, research students also have the opportunity to experience the village in a way that is less possible during the year. They have free time to discover gems in nature, try new restaurants in and outside of the village, and pursue other activities such as picking fresh lavender buds at the Hillcrest Lavender Farm in Sherburne. 

Another group of students, Summer Admission Ambassadors, also got to experience the seasonal excitement. With an influx of prospective students visiting the area over the summer, many Colgate students elect to work in the Office of Admission during the summer months. Senior Sarena Gisser worked as an Admission Ambassador this past summer, leading large tour groups and working within the administrative office.

“My favorite part about being [on campus] over the summer was being able to spend time in Hamilton while the weather was so beautiful,” Gisser said. “We were able to take advantage of all the beautiful nature here that we don’t get to normally, with activities like paddle boarding [on Lake Moraine], going to Hillcrest Lavender Farm, going to the [Rexford Falls] waterfall and more.”

A notable after-work favorite is nestled in the trees and jagged rocks of Rexford Falls. Just ten minutes from Hamilton in Sherburne, NY, the 40-foot waterfall and accompanying swimming hole provide a perfect chance to cool down on hot days. Although the hike there is only 0.4 miles to the falls, it includes a little rugged maneuvering before the peaceful pools at the end. In order to reach it, Gisser noted having to wade through the creek and cross rocks and stumps in order to find the destination. It’s worth it, as most attest, but make sure to wear shoes that can get wet and bring a good bottle of bug spray. 

Another popular pastime among summer students is spending the afternoon at the Seven Oaks Golf Course. Newly renovated and rated among the best college golf courses, Seven Oaks offers a seasonal deal that brings golf-lovers and beginners to the links at a lower price. 

Beyond the nearby destinations, Hamilton’s local community is another reason to experience a Colgate summer. Many businesses stay open through graduation and the first half of summer, including Flour and Salt, a Colgate favorite, which stayed open until July 30, according to their Instagram page (@flourandsalt). During peak season for local farmed produce, students on campus can meet farm and garden owners at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Known and loved equally in the fall, this market on the Village Green in town offers fresh fruit, vegetables, jewelry, maple cotton candy, flower bouquets, specialty baked goods, clothing, coffee and more in the summer as well. 

“I really loved getting more integrated in the Madison County community,” said senior Claire Madsen. “Colgate can be such a bubble, but being here over the summer allowed me to really explore upstate New York not just as a student but as a community member.”

Beyond their academic and extracurricular accomplishments during these months, Colgate students get to experience the small town upstate life and all of its treasured traditions. As they now welcome back their peers for a new semester, they officially get to be the locals in their college town.

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