Treasure Hunt

Our final project of the semester was a collaborative one that took its final form as an ArcGIS story map. After considering various forms of walking, the consensus was that most of it is task-driven: rushing to class or some other Point B from our current Point A. Even our exercise is fit-bitted and measured. So the projects turned to the question of what we find along the way, hidden in plain sight, and the strange history of treasure maps came up. Usually we associate them with pirates’ booty or other monetary riches. But isn’t there also a fascination with some mysterious map that tells you how to get there? Perhaps there’s an overlap here with nature writing in this close attention to the important details surrounding us. Click here to read “How to Get There: A Collection of Treasure Maps.”

Celestial spheres

Snowy winter day, with moon above horizon

Winter is a time of many different emotions and mentalities; each being who makes their way in the cold and dark has their own unique outlook on surviving the season. Most humans who live in regions that experience winter have developed uplifting mindsets of sorts in order to maintain high spirits through the seemingly dismal aura surrounding winter. Many cultures celebrate the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, with rejoice for new beginnings in the form of the eventual spring. During this time of hope and raised spirits, the aura of good cheer can generate beautiful moments of true magic and wonder. One legend that awakens during the snowy season is that of Santa Claus, the jolly old toymaker, who astounds and mystifies children of nearly any age. In my personal opinion, the idea of Santa Claus (or any other uplifting winter legend) is perfect for opening the eyes of children to the wonders of imagination and the magic of winter. In fact, I experienced a moment of pure wonder and awe just the other day. Of course, my credibility might go down a notch if I said I believed in legends such as Santa Claus, so I won’t go that far (although I admit it is quite fun to ponder the existence of such a legend).

I remember getting out of bed, following my usual routine, and making my way to the water fountain to fill up my bottle. On the way down the stairs, I glanced out the window, and was greeted with the full, pale face of the moon casting its reflected light down towards me. Caught in its powerful gaze, I could only stare at the beauty of its marbled surface. As I stood there, I simply contemplated the way humans have always gawked at the wonder and mystery of space. –Travis Best


A murky photograph of Geneseo's Roemer Arboretum at dusk

Everyone had their reasons for being at Geneseo. For many it reprised the lines and chords that their parents or siblings had gone through in a suburban environment: a Wegmans fifteen minutes away, mom-and pop shops nearby, a pleasurable tension of knowing your neighbors’ business.

I came for the money and the breathing space; quite literally the AQI was way better up here and I wouldn’t feel like a sardine in my classroom. I didn’t have to worry about not having a seat if I arrived late to class. The little things were forgiven: pauses were made and small talk seemed much more earnest without the competition for space, time, and attention. I didn’t have to rush in or be forced to grab a chair elsewhere for my spot.

On walks to the arboretum, I’d be met with a similar sweet opening and sour end. Initially—sweet like the taste of hot apple cider from Red Jacket—my view was more expansive the higher up the hill I went. Without metropolitan smog, my clarity and progression of thoughts modeled the twilight sky. Celestial concepts inhabited my headspace during frequent five-minute walks between commitments. I was a part of a larger, starry movement tracking the inhale and exhale of the campus day. Like lining up for metaphase, there was an ease in becoming the common Geneseo student—motivated, multifaceted, and driven. Still, I felt power in this reprieve at the arboretum; somehow I thought I’d get some sort of break from the buzz in a manmade forest, away from all of my manufactured problems. It was always humbling, though, to dance around Genesee beer cans amid thoughts of my own right to a claim a place here and the legacy I would want to leave. —Jess

A walk in town

When students hear, “Let’s go for a walk!”, they automatically think about a five-minute walk through campus. Most of us believe the only successful walk leads to the famous Gazebo. Although this gazebo is very beautiful when viewing the sunset, no one considers that a walk through town can be just as enjoyable! Since in today’s generation people transport mostly by car, walking for more than five minutes seems “too far”. Yet, I took a 15-minute walk just to get to Main Street and I was super excited. The buildings were so old-fashioned and painted in exterior colors of blue, white, and even pink. This old appearance made me feel as if I were standing in my hometown’s main road. Both consist of many stores and places to dine. I felt as if I fit right in. As I traveled down the street admiring the beauty, I noticed a large fountain in the middle of the road. At first I was confused as to why it was placed right in the center, but somehow it just fits the story this road was trying to tell. The fountain represented peace and joy, its water falling a sign of calmness. It matched the feeling of comfort and joy I felt. Since Geneseo is such a small town with not too many students, you are likely to run into people you know–like I did. My close friends who live in Suffolk Hall had been going back to their dorms from dinner, and not only did I feel comfortable now, but I felt welcomed by my peers. At this moment I realized how lucky and grateful I am to be here. I am surrounded by a friendly and safe environment where I can feel comfortable going on a walk alone and be able to enjoy the scenery around me. –Madison

As the semester unravels

As time continues to progress the school semester seems close to its end. With the nature of SUNY Geneseo, work only gets more intense with the stress of finals week approaching. Every day I find myself reading a text or solving problems, which are meant to prepare me for that final day. Other than academics, there are also many adjustments that have been made from day one to present. For example, in the beginning of the school year many things that were not prioritized have become essential. You can’t even imagine how important rest has been, not only for me but most of the students on campus. Another priority is the importance of self-care and making sure that the idea of college doesn’t become too overwhelming. With all of this in mind, my excitement to finish fall semester is growing.

Weather has also been a major adjustment in Suny Geneseo. In August I would have never expected to see snow or such low temperatures around this time of year. Going from hoodies to heavy winter coats in the beginning of November wasn’t something I was accustomed to. A positive from this, however, would be the scenery. As I watch the snow pile up and cover the trees the sight is breathtaking, and it is something that I would have never experienced if I didn’t attend this school. With this in mind I have realized that I have enjoyed my first semester and can not wait to begin the next. –Kalel

My home away from home

My favorite place to eat here in Geneseo is Crickets. This place holds a special place in my heart because in my hometown, we have a coffee shop similar to this one and every time I step foot inside, I feel like I’m at home again. Having a place that you can feel at home right near campus can be very comforting. The adjustment to college was difficult, so having this place helped the transition immensely. My friends and I like to spend our time here doing homework and hanging out while we eat our breakfast sandwiches. My personal favorite thing to order is a bacon, egg, and cheese on a plain bagel with a caramel iced coffee. The environment is super chill and relaxing, making it a great place to complete my homework and get in my caffeine for the day. The decorations around the entirety of the shop create a welcoming and comforting vibe. Whether I’m alone or with a group of friends, I always enjoy my time here at my favorite location in Geneseo. –Kelly

November transition

College has been a whirlwind of emotions. It is hard to transition from permanence to an unsteady environment, unfamiliar buildings, and friends that are, as yet, still strangers. It feels like I have grown up so much in such a short period. Over the summer, my family moved from my childhood home. It was a very difficult process to say the least, a lot of unwanted hellos and goodbyes. From there, I started college! Every highschoolers dream of freedom, endless parties, and limited supervision. I enjoyed my first-hand experiences, the wildness, the celebration of new beginnings, everything. Soon after, I turned eighteen. Talk about freedom…I could do anything I wanted: tattoos, piercings, buy a hamster, hell I could even take up smoking! I did none of those things. However, knowing I could felt good.

This post is about change. Change is healthy, change is perfectly natural. I mean, look around: the weather changed almost instantly in November. It was as if Mother Nature were reluctant to let the warmth of autumn go. The trees held tight onto their leaves, stubborn. Until a couple weeks in, we had our first snow at Geneseo! It was hard to adjust to such cold weather in such a short amount of time, but the fresh snowfall was exciting. The Christmas fanatics strung their lights and blasted Christmas music, already counting down the days. Some people hate winter. I often see them in disgust as they shovel on through the snow, but when the sun comes out, they grin embracing their rosy cheeks. For winter is beautiful in the sun. –Meg

As the seasons change

Light snow on top of shrubs and trees at SUNY Geneseo

As a first-year student at SUNY Geneseo I’ve come to realize that there is much more than just academics that the school has to offer. While Geneseo is known as the “Ivy League of the SUNY’s” and its athletic program soars, it is also one of the most beautiful places to be year-round. When I arrived here in August the summer weather was almost perfect; the trees were a beautiful green and the sunsets were immaculate. Every night a new color would paint the sky and the Gazebo, located right in the middle of campus, was packed with students trying to capture the perfect picture for their snapchat stories. The Gazebo is one of my favorite places on campus, marked with names of past Geneseo students and placed in a spot that you can see for miles.

As the summer weather passed autumn was greeted with the slowly changing leaves that colored the campus with bright reds, yellows, and oranges. This is by far my favorite season and coming from a town in the middle of the mountains, I thought I would miss the scenery at home. However, after seeing the campus paths coated with falling leaves and looking out at the fields from the top of the hill, I’ve come to realize that Geneseo is just as pretty as it is at home. The squirrels on campus seem to multiply as they look for nuts that have fallen from the changing trees.

Now that weather has gotten colder, the trees have shed all their leaves and winter is slowly approaching. Though I usually resent the cold weather and snow, after seeing what it looks like on campus, I may have changed my mind. I feel it is the most beautiful calming look the campus has had so far and I can’t wait to see what spring has to offer. –Madison

A green campus

Three recycling bins are lined up against a wall

Students studying elementary education at SUNY Geneseo are required to study a specific concentration. On the spur of the moment at my advisement appointment during the first week of school, I decided to concentrate in environmental studies alongside my major. Ever since my decision, I have noticed myself becoming more conscientious about the environment due to the perspectives brought up throughout my classes.             

This semester I am taking both  Environmental Issues and Nature Writing, which have both coincidentally discussed some overlapping topics and ideas. Learning, analyzing, and discussing human-caused environmental impacts and aspects throughout nature have opened my eyes to our environmentally conscientious conditions.

Adjusting to shared bathrooms and bedrooms have compelled me to a more sustainable lifestyle. Before coming to Geneseo, I was blinded by how much I took advantage of having my own bedroom and bathroom. The luxury of taking my time in the shower and having more living space had distracted me from making “greener” choices. For example, the time I spent in the shower at home is more than double the time I spend in the shower at Geneseo. Knowing that other people could be waiting for an open shower fosters my ability to save water; it also has made me aware of the large amounts of water I must have been wasting back home. Onondaga Hall unintentionally motivates me to only drink from reusable cups and use real silverware, since my small living space prevents unnecessary wastes of space including plastic water bottles and utensils.

Full blue recycling bins and energy-saving sensor lights in most dining halls, dorms, academic buildings, and libraries are comforting to see when I pass by, because they demonstrate our active progress and environmentally conscious atmosphere throughout campus. I’ve also noticed that the technology established through Canvas has encouraged less paper in the classroom. Recognizing, adjusting, and managing printing fees and the hassle to find a printer on campus have effectively discouraged me from printing out unnecessary assignments like I used to.

My Nature Writing and Environmental Issues classes have enlightened me on my human contribution to the earth depletion and has increased my appreciation for nature around the world and on campus. –Jordyn

A beautiful valley

Most people don’t enjoy rainy days. If you stand at the top of the steps across from Mary Jemison Dining Hall, however, the view just can’t be beat. I have always been that one person who loves the rain. The sound, the smell, and the feeling all make a long day worth it. Looking out on the thick gray clouds, all I feel is peace. My journey here at SUNY Geneseo has not been an easy one, but the peaceful atmosphere and completely crazy squirrels make it worthwhile. Their tails twitch as they chase each other around the grass, and some are even open to getting close to you. On hard days, it’s nice to know there is always a peaceful place to stand, look, and breathe in the fresh air. Whether it’s raining, snowing, or just a little cloudy, the view at the top of those steps will always take your breath away. And when the sun sets, take a seat and enjoy the moment. —Riley