The College Experience takes great pride in congratulating the 11 ambitious students who just completed our first ever Summer Exchange Program that lasted from July 9th to July 20th. These students who are still in high school came from various areas of New York State and New Jersey to experience a taste of college life at the College of Saint Rose. The program was launched with a barbecue at one of the student residences and capped with a Semi-Formal Beach Party-themed extravaganza before they returned home. We thank their supportive families and hope to work with them in the future if some feel the College Experience is the right place for them subsequent to high school.

The College Experience did their absolute best to seize the fleeting joys of summer by packing numerous adventures, educational opportunities, and periods of leisure time in just less than two weeks. The overall mission of this innovative program was to enhance independence and confidence among these eleven talented students and those to follow in future Summer Exchange sessions. There was a rotating schedule of activities that included swimming, outdoor athletics, and enjoying the numerous amenities throughout the Capital Region. The students enjoyed breakfast and lunch in the Saint Rose Dining hall like a typical college student, and in the evening they learned culinary skills by cooking dinner with their Residential Advisor in the dorms. The mission of the College Experience is to acknowledge the rights of students with intellectual disabilities to explore college life. We are confident that these students who made it through this experience could also handle the challenges of academia and gainful employment if this is the path they choose.

The Summer Exchange students had a chance to experience life as a young adult in a city where the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) bus system provides opportunities for enhanced freedom. Some of the local activities included the New York State Museum, the Empire State Plaza, Corning Tower, a Siena Baseball game, bowling, the Crossgates Mall, and a ValleyCats game. The Summer Exchange participants also traveled on a day trip to Boston where they took in the sights of the aquarium and Quincy Market. The Boston trip was funded with the profits generated by the yearlong students who proudly ran the Sweet Treats Café at the main office and on the Saint Rose campus. On a final note, we are proud of our regular students for being so welcoming and acting as mentors to the Summer Exchange students!