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POTSDAM, N.Y. — At first, it seemed like every other college orientation session happening in universities across the country.

A handful of prospective students, my teenage daughter Zadie included, listened intently on the eighth floor of the administration building here while an admissions official shared all the amenities that the State University of New York Potsdam has to offer. In the back of the room, near me, were current university students ready to share their college life experiences. A two-hour tour lay ahead for all of us. 

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