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Letchworth Experience

Applications accepted until the program is full or through Orientation (July 16).

Important Update: Program is CANCELLED for fall 2020.  To learn more about getting involved in Letchworth State Park, check out the research and courses happening in the Geography Department.  If you're looking for ways to connect with students before the fall semester, check out the new Geneseo Experience online courses!

Check out the  Geneseo Scene article featuring the impact of the Letchworth Experience.

2020 Dates:

Sunday, August 23 - Wednesday, August 26

2020 Costs:

$350 - includes housing, transportation, and food from Sunday night to Thursday morning

See a slideshow of the Letchworth Summer Experience Program  here.

  Summer Experience Program: Expanding HomeLetchworth Experience

Program Costs


$350 for activities, room, and board for 5 nights and 3 days.

Fees cover:

  • Enrollment in XLRN 101
  • Early arrival and 2 nights lodging in your Fall Assigned Housing room on campus
  • 3 nights lodging in Letchworth State Park
  • Admission into Letchworth State Park each day
  • 11 meals and snacks, including dinner on Sunday night when you arrive through breakfast on Thursday morning
  • Activities and museum costs
  • Transportation to and from the program activities
  • Services of two Geneseo faculty, a TA, and the Residence Life program coordinator

Financial Assistance

We do have financial grants available for students to subsidize the cost of each trip through the Summer Experience Scholarship and Grants Committee.  All required paperwork for participation in a work trip must be submitted with this request.  NOTE: Students are expected to pay for trip fees if they have the resources; the grants may only cover partial funding for a given trip.  Any participant is eligible to apply.  Just  fill out the form.  Please contact Meg Reitz ( with any questions. 

Program Cancellation Policy

There is a non-refundable $150 deposit due by June 30th to guarantee your spot in the program.  Until June 15th, filling out the application will hold your spot in the program.  The program is organized and planned in such a way that many of the costs are paid ahead of time as a means of guaranteeing housing/food/activities. 

After July 31, there will be no reimbursement for program costs.

Professor Jim Kernan working with students at Wolf Creek

Letchworth Field Work

Activities in Letchworth

Course Description

The Letchworth Experience connects students to the local geography of Geneseo, NY and the Genesee River Valley.  During the three days in Letchworth State Park, students explore the rich indigenous history and ties to the region, the local flora and fauna and the local threats to biodiversity, and get a deep understanding of how the campus's backyard is utilized as an ongoing research facility through collaborations with the State Park and the Community.  Faculty work with students to introduce them to the area and to introduce them to collegiate living and learning.  After the 3-day immersive part of the course is over, students continue their learning and reflection throughout the fall semester by attending events on and off campus and talking with faculty and each other about the transition to college.

Activities in Letchworth

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course, students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Apply discipline-specific knowledge and skills to place-based learning experiences
  • Form connections between broad conceptual frameworks and themes (e.g., but not limited to, sustainability, politics and power, economics and social structures) and local contexts
  • Engage in critical analysis and argumentation in oral discourse and written work
  • Synthesize multiple content knowledge in engagement with real-world problems and issues
  • Reflect upon academic experiences, assess changes in learning and outlook over time, and to make personal, professional, and civic plans based on that self-reflection

Who Should Apply?

Any and all incoming first-year students are welcome.  Those with an interest in the outdoors will enjoy the trip, but no prior hiking, camping, or fieldwork experience is necessary.  We especially encourage students who have applied for housing in Tesla House as experiential learning is a cornerstone of the Letchworth Experience.  Anyone with an interest in trying something new is encouraged to apply.  Enrollment is limited.


All participants will stay in their Fall Housing Assignment on campus on the first and last nights of the trip. In between, students will stay in the Letchworth D Cabins, which are close to the Portageville entrance to Letchworth State Park.  The cabins have four beds, electricity, a refrigerator, and table, but no running water.  Bathrooms and showers are a short walk from all the cabins.


Students should arrange their own transportation to the SUNY Geneseo campus and then we will provide vehicles to transport you to, from, and around Letchworth State Park.


All meals are provided beginning with dinner on Sunday night through breakfast on Thursday morning.  Students are expected to handle their own meals on Thursday afternoon and evening and Friday until meal plans begin on Friday night.


There will be some light readings to complete prior to the trip.  Reading assignments will be sent via email in early August.

Text and Supplies

  1. Small notebook and pencils (bring with you)
  2. Print out of readings that were emailed
  3. All other readings will be provided for you


Your course grade will be based on:

  • Participation during activities - 50%
  • Engagement during discussions - 30%
  • Bioregionalism quiz - 10%
  • Reflections and Journal Entries - 10%


This is a tentative schedule that is subject to change.


10:00 am - 2:00 pm:  Arrive on campus and unpack

4:30 pm: Meet on the College Green for introductions and welcome

5:45 – 6:00 pm: Brief tour of the Geography Department

6:00 pm: Meet and greet and pizza in Bailey Hall

6:30 pm: Discussion of bioregionalism (reading provided in early August)

7:00 pm: Pack breakfast and lunch for Monday and bring to your residence hall

7:30 pm: Pack your day pack for the day:  notebook, pencils,  two full water bottles, swimwear and sandals or water shoes for rafting, towel. 



8:00 am:  Breakfast in residence hall

8:30 am: Meet in parking lot behind Bailey Hall to load vans with packed lunch, packed daypack, and other gear needed for 3 days/2 nights in Letchworth

9:00-11:15 am: Visit several sites around Geneseo to learn about the region

11:15 am: Head to Letchworth State Park

12:00 pm: Lunch at Lower Falls

12:30 pm: Geocaching at Letchworth State Park

5:30 pm: Arrive at camp

6:30 pm: Dinner

7:30 pm: CCC discussion

8:00 pm: “Life at SUNY Geneseo” fireside discussion



8:30 pm: Breakfast at camp

9:30 pm: Invasive species discussion at Wolf Creek

10:00 – 11:00am: Habitat Restoration service project removing invasive vinca (Work gloves and hand tools provided)

11:00 – 11:30 am: Tree identification

11:30 am: Lunch

12:15 pm: Stream macroinvertebrate sampling at Wolf Creek

1:00 – 5:00 pm: TBA

6:00 pm: Dinner at camp

7:00 pm: “Inside Tips from SUNY Geneseo Professor” fireside discussion


8:30 am: Breakfast at camp and pack up

9:30 am: Morning activity

12:00 pm: Lunch

1:00 pm: Afternoon activity and return to campus

5:00 pm: Catered dinner in the College Union Hunt Room (near the bus loop); take breakfast with you for Thursday

Application and Payment

There are FIVE steps to your application process:

  1. Please fill out your Letchworth Experience application online by June 30.  This will hold your spot until June 30th.
  2. Make your  $150 non-refundable deposit full payment, or balance after you receive confirmation of your placement.
  3. Complete and email Medical and Consent forms by July 31.  These will be emailed after you have completed your application and payment.
  4. Complete your payment in full by July 31.

Questions? Please contact the Department of Residence Life via phone at 585-245-5726 or email at

Financial Assistance

We do have financial grants available for students to subsidize the cost of each trip through the Summer Experience Scholarship and Grants Committee.  All required paperwork for participation in a work trip must be submitted with this request.  NOTE: Students are expected to pay for trip fees if they have the resources and the grants will only cover partial funding for a given trip.  Any participant is eligible to apply.  Just  fill out the form.  Please contact Meg Reitz ( with any questions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need to bring a sleeping bag? Yes, or linens. The cabins have beds and mattresses, but you will need to provide your own pillow, sheets, blanket, and/or sleeping bag.  There will be an opportunity to sleep outside if you are interested and you would need to provide your own tent and/or sleeping bag for that.

Do I have to be in Tesla House to go on the trip/Do I have to go on the trip if I’m a member of Tesla House? No!  Although we encourage Tesla House students to apply for the Geneseo-Letchworth Experience since the goals of Tesla House align with the experiential learning that will take place on this trip.

How much extra money will I need? You will have the opportunity to go to the gift shop in Letchworth, otherwise, all costs are covered from Sunday night through Wednesday night.  You will need to purchase your own food on Sunday afternoon (if you arrive early) and after the program has ended (Thursday all meals, Friday breakfast and lunch).  Friday dinner is the first meal that is covered on your fall semester meal plan.

Helpful Tips from Past Trips
  • A change of clothes and shoes for the evening as you may get dirty and wet during the day.
  • Bug spray and sunscreen
  • Don’t forget your camera!
  • May get chilly at night, hot during the day 
  • Bring boots and raingear; we will be outside even in inclement weather