College supplements travel program for alumni and friends

Alumni travel programs allow Geneseo graduates to take trips with fellow Geneseo alumni led by current Geneseo professors.

The first alumni trip occurred in the summer of 2011. Wes Kennison, adjunct lecturer in English, developed the idea for a program in Siena.

“Kennison has been taking students there for years, and many professors have connections there,” Study Abroad Advisor Emily Froome said. “[An alumni travel program] seemed a natural extension.” The Alumni Relations Office agreed to contribute to facilitating the program. A total of three alumni programs have traveled to Italy.

Michelle Worden, associate director of alumni relations, said that other colleges offer trips for alumni through travel companies, but Geneseo decided take a different approach.

“We thought that Geneseo could do something unique and special,” she said. “Our faculty has wonderful of knowledge of these places.” Programs are a collaboration of faculty, the study abroad office and the Alumni Relations Office.

Alumni travel programs are open not only to alumni but also faculty, parents of current students and friends of the college.

“We’re very inclusive of the Geneseo family,” Worden said.

A total of 56 alumni participated in the three programs in Italy. Kennison, Distinguished Teaching Professor of History Emeritus Bill Cook, Distinguished Teaching Professor of English Ron Herzman and professor of English Robert Doggett led these trips. They explored a variety of academic topics related to their travels, including art, architecture, history and poetry. Each trip lasts about 10 days long.

Doggett and associate professor and Chair of the History Department Joseph Cope will lead this summer’s program July 16 to 27. The group will travel to different areas of Ireland including Dublin, Derry and Galway. The group will cover the topics of history, drama, poetry and music as they relate to their travels. Ten people have signed up for the program so far, and there are 10 remaining spots.

Junior economics major and study abroad mentor Adel Davletgaraeva studied abroad in the Netherlands and recommends travel to people of all ages.

“There is nothing that you can compare to the experience that you get,” she said. “New culture, new people, new language – it’s just exciting from the very beginning.”

“A lot of alumni couldn’t study abroad when they were students, so this is a chance to go abroad with the Geneseo community and make connections across that community,” Froome said. “This is a not just a vacation; it is a richer experience because you get to go with professors and learn.”

Both Worden and Froome said they hope to see alumni study abroad programs offered each summer. Worden brought up the possibility of future alumni trips within the United States.

“It’s just a wonderful opportunity to engage our alumni in a different way and continue the education process,” Worden said.