Incoming Ithaca College Students Get a Jump on Community Involvement

By David Maley, August 21, 2017

Incoming Ithaca College Students Get a Jump on Community Involvement

Some 200 incoming students at Ithaca College will arrive in town several days ahead of their classmates to take part in Jumpstart, a series of activities designed to help ease their transition into the Ithaca experience both on campus and in the community.

Celebrating its 20th year, Jumpstart provides an opportunity for interested first-year and transfer students to apply for a spot in one of four programs, each of which has a different thematic focus: Community Plunge, ECHO (Experiencing Connections by Heading Outdoors), the GREEN (Gardening, Recycling, Eating, Enjoying Nature) Tour and Lead-In.

Along with upper-class student leaders who serve as mentors and facilitators, the participants will join in activities ranging from service projects with local organizations to exploring regional sustainability programs and operations.

The Jumpstart students will arrive on campus on Thursday, Aug. 24, spend Friday and Saturday with their program, and gather together again for a closing activity on Saturday evening, the day before the official move-in date for the rest of the incoming class.

Community Plunge
Participants get to explore the Ithaca community and develop their teamwork skills working with a variety of local service organizations on projects that can range from construction to tutoring. Work sites this year include the Finger Lakes Re-Use Center, Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library, 1st St. Mosaic Project and Ithaca Youth Bureau.

ECHO (Experiencing Connections by Heading Outdoors)
Students will head off campus and into the great outdoors for an overnight camping experience along the Finger Lakes Trail. Campers will use basic outdoor adventure skills to manage a campsite, cook meals, build camp fires and safely enjoy nature, learning how to incorporate “leave no trace” principles into their daily routine and future outdoor pursuits.

GREEN (Gardening, Recycling, Eating, Enjoying Nature) Tour
Participants will see firsthand the diversity of food production systems in use on a variety of farms around Cayuga Lake. Sustainability guides will lead discussions and exercises about participants’ observations and sites they have explored, helping them learn about being a part of a connected community and understand the impact they have on a local level, regional and global level.

Students will take part in team-building and leadership skill-building activities, including an adventure-challenge course. Participants will meet with current student leaders and college staff to learn about opportunities to get involved in campus organizations, including how to take on leadership roles during the first year.

For more information contact Don Austin, assistant director of community service and leadership development in the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs at (607) 274-3222 or