New Orientation Project Uses K’NEX Toys – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

New Orientation Project Uses K’NEX Toys

What has small red, yellow, blue, and white connectable parts? This year, a project for the incoming classes at Hobart and William Smith.

(August 25, 2003) GENEVA, N.Y.—Connecting toys have become a metaphor for a liberal arts education, at least to illustrate the concept for the incoming classes at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. A special building project, utilizing teamwork, communication skills, and the “425 Piece Super Value Tubs” donated by K'NEX Toys, was designed to bond them with one another and with the academic mission of the campus community.

On Friday afternoon, members of the Classes of 2007 will divide into groups of 12-14 students each, and will be given a K’NEX value tub with the instructions removed. The students must work and solve problems together to construct any mechanical or motorized tool that has a specific function the students can articulate and that the creature/tool successfully performs. Once the creations are built and tested, a discussion of the project’s value and its relation to the Colleges' educational mission will follow. Each group will then exhibit its creation and will vote on the best creations.

Orientation won't be all games, however. The groups will get to know the campus, each other, and Geneva and the surrounding community by performing service projects. The approximately 550 incoming students will perform service projects at 38 sites this year. Students will dismantle the old playground at Romulus Elementary School. They will paint at the American Legion, Elizabeth Cady Stanton Children's Center, Geneva Agri-Business Child Development, and St. Peter's Church. Other sites include various area churches and schools, The Salvation Army, American Red Cross of the Finger Lakes, Community Lunch Program, Child and Family Resources, Geneva Family YMCA, Free Library, Theatre Guild, and Women's Club, Granger Homestead, Happiness House, North Seneca Ambulance, Seneca Lake State Park, the Smith Opera House, and Washington St. Cemetery.