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Ithaca College Freshmen Will Get a Jump on Serving Their New Community

ITHACA, NY — Some 180 incoming Ithaca College students will arrive in town several days ahead of their classmates to take part in a series of activities designed to help ease their transition into the Ithaca experience — both on campus and in the community.

Now in its 15th 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), Lead-In and the GREEN (Gardening, Recycling, Eating, Enjoying Nature) Tour.

Along with nearly 60 student leaders who will serve as mentors and facilitators, the participants will join in activities ranging from service projects with local organizations to camping on the Finger Lakes Trail to exploring regional sustainability programs and operations.

The Jumpstart students will arrive on campus on Thursday, Aug. 23, 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 are placed into teams and spend two days working with a variety of local service organizations on projects ranging from building nature trails that are wheelchair accessible to preparing lunch for residents living in senior citizen facilities. Work sites this year include the SPCA of Tompkins County, Hospicare, Ithaca Children’s Garden, Beechtree Care Center, Books Thru Bars and Ithaca Health Alliance.

ECHO (Experience Connections by Heading Outdoors)
Students head off campus and into the great outdoors for an overnight camping experience along the Finger Lakes Trail. Campers have the opportunity to stay in tents, prepare their own food, connect with peers and participate in activities led by students, faculty and staff.

Designed to help students get a head start on their college leadership experiences, participants will join in team-building and skill-building activities, including an adventure-challenge course; learn about opportunities to get involved in student organizations at IC; and hear from current student leaders and college staff.

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

For more information on Jumpstart, 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