Setting, Schedule and Experience


Awakening At Pine Lake

During Awakening, you will have the chance to establish lasting connections with the natural landscape. Awakeners are immersed in the peacefulness of Hartwick’s beautiful Pine Lake Environmental Campus, which includes a lake with swimming beach, an array of residential cabins, wide lawns, gardens, and more. Awakeners are housed in cabins scattered through the woods near the lake. In addition, immediately adjacent to the Pine Lake Environmental Campus is Robert V. Riddell State Park – at over 2,000 acres, the largest state park in the Central Region of New York State.

Hartwick’s Pine Lake Environmental Campus is the perfect place for relaxing and learning about the interaction of nature with humans; its quiet beauties are an attraction in all seasons. Awakening students often learn to love this land, returning throughout college for that special “Pine Lake feeling.”


Typical Schedule

A Typical Day
7:00 a.m. Rise and shine
7:30 a.m. Breakfast with your own group in your cabin or pavilion
8:30 a.m.

Morning meeting with everyone: get to know other groups, announcements,
and games

9:00 a.m.  Start your day with your own small group (exploring various mini topics with Faculty members, problem solving exercises, short hikes, low or high challenge course elements, a trip into town, helping with a fun community service project for the unique Pine Lake property, T-shirt design, etc.)
Noon   Lunch with other groups
1:00 p.m.  Finish your day with your own small group
5:00 p.m. R &R : go for a swim in the lake, catch up on some reading, hang out with friends, catch a nap, talk to your leaders, sit on the observation deck, do some journaling….
6:00 p.m. Dinner with the whole group
7:00 p.m.  Open time for small group tasks and processing the day
8:30 p.m.

Evening program, or campfire

11:00 p.m. Quiet hours begin

A Typical Week


Register and move into room on campus

  • Drive to Pine Lake for formal Welcome
  • Form small groups and go off separately for initial bonding and challenges


  • Settle fully into cabins or pavilions
  • Begin building teams through problem-solving and trust activities outdoors
  • Lunch with everyone
  • Meet everyone in the Awakening community
  • Begin Mini Topics, Initiatives, Low Ropes elements, and other individual & group challenges
  • Dinner with Peer Leaders, RAs, or other campus leaders


  • Continue more challenging activities, course topics, or low elements
  • Short hikes and/or help build something to enhance the Pine Lake property (a trail, a stone wall, a boardwalk across the swamp, a new challenge course element…)
  • Dinner with faculty and staff guests
  • Open campfire


  • Continue exploring Mini Topics
  • High Ropes Course elements
  • Final barbecue with College Guests (administration, faculty, staff, etc.)
  • Celebration dance


  • Clean up
  • Pack up
  • Closing discussions and appreciations in small groups
  • Fun Photos!
  • Depart before noon for campus to join other arriving first-year students

 What To Expect From Your Awakening Experience

Awakening is primarily a challenging and fun outdoor adventure. It offers a unique learning environment using a smaller group experiential approach with Leaders on Mini Topics, problem-solving activities, and the challenge course located at Hartwick’s Pine Lake Environmental Campus. These activities are presented within an atmosphere of group support and encouragement. A sequence of increasing physical and mental challenges tends to engage people quickly and directly. Insights occur and new behaviors are discovered, with the help of frequent discussions.

“Awakening is like one big lunch table where everyone is welcome to sit down.”

Andy Goodell ’08

Awakening is one way that Hartwick accomplishes its mission of helping students become self-confident, responsible individuals, prepared to live a purposeful life. In addition to challenge activities, Awakening offers student participants optional course credits on various Mini Topics and Physical Education at our beautiful Pine Lake Environmental Campus. Even if you have been through challenge courses before, this experience is guaranteed to be entirely new: a new community, a beautiful new campus, and a new focus on your upcoming experience at college.

Evenings and meal times are yours for socializing with others and making new friends. Accommodations are small cabins or large platform tents, with meals shared at the Rec Building by the Lake. There are bathrooms and portajohns available for all, and everyone stays clean using occasional showers and frequent swims in the lake. Late afternoon R&R time finds people heading for the beach, reading, or taking walks with new friends. Evenings may bring community campfires or dinner with faculty and administrators. There’s plenty of time to hang out, talk, and ask questions about the College. On any given day, you may laugh, cry, learn about yourself, and accomplish things you thought impossible. With years of Awakening experiences and the testimony, dating back to 1984, hundreds of Awakening alumni feel certain you’ll have a great time!

“I learned a lot about myself this week and I also have a clearer picture of who I want to be”

Mandy Schmidt ’11

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