The best way to learn about Clarkson University is to visit the website or the virtual tour. All REU students are housed free of charge in the Townhouse or in Woodstock Apartments. Cable TV, telephone and computer network access are supplied free of charge. You have to supply the TV and the telephone of course. All apartments have full kitchen for your cooking needs. The apartments are a short walk from the Science Center, Rowley Laboratories, or Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP), where you'll be working.
You can use your food stipend to eat at the Cheel Campus Center, dine out at one of the fine restaurants in Potsdam, or buy groceries to make your own food. I highly recommend the Potsdam Food Co-op. You can buy many items in bulk there. This reduces your environmental impact and saves you money. The Co-op also carries organic and locally grown fruits and vegetables in addition to conventional produce. There are also farmers' markets in Canton on Tuesday and Friday and in Potsdam on Wednesday and Saturday. If you haven't been to the farmers' market yet, it's a great place to go for vegetables, cheeses, and baked goodies.
There are a lot of fun things to do in and around Potsdam. Swimming in the Raquette River or cliff jumping in Parishville is a fun way to cool off after a hot day in the lab. There are free outdoor concerts in nearby Madrid, NY. Tuesday is Open Mic Night at the Fields Coffeehouse. It's also fun to go to local festivals, such as the Canton Dairy Fair, the Potsdam Summer Festival, or the Celtic Festival (in Canada). To find out about local events, check out the North Country Now or Village of Potsdam websites.
For the athletically inclined, the Clarkson area offers endless roads for distance running, biking, or walking. Also, the university sports 2 weight rooms (free weights and nautilus), a 25m pool (with spa and sauna), an indoor track, basketball court, racquetball courts, and a new room for aerobic exercise equipment. All facilities are free to REU researchers, and exercise is often a good way to relieve any stress/pent up energy.