Great advice, thanks... I'll jump on the phone next week and try UVM, I also have contacts at both UNH, SUNY Courtlandt and Plymouth State... so I can definitely cast a wide net. I've already got over 40 people signed up in just a week, so I might have the same issues of too many people to handle too soon. I guess it is a good problem to have! The college just bought a bunch (~300 acres) of wild lands on the CT river, and they're planning to put in trails etc, but leave it basically as a pristine area on the river. With appropriate supervision, we might be able to use that space to get started.
On the liability thing, no doubt we'll have to deal with the college's insurance agent. The initial reaction was "waivers of liability", I'm going to make sure I have that nailed before our first trip!
Anyway, thanks again for the advice... I just set up our facebook page, so if you're interested in following our progress as we form up and begin taking tiny measured steps towards the wilderness, search for "Goodwin College Outdoors Club" on facebook and "like" us!