Open Arms:  SU First Year Experience program

At some point, everyone has been the new student on campus. They can recall the confusion of not knowing where your classroom is or where your friends are, or the anxiety that creeps in from wanting acceptance in this new college environment. This is where FYE, the First Year Experience program, steps in for the rescue.

Ms. Avis Chaney, Associate Director of FYE and SYE (Second Year Experience), gave significant details on the purpose and methods of these programs. “First Year Experience is a program that fosters the relationship between student and college,” she explained. “If you give the first time freshmen the resources and support that they need to be successful in college, that results in them forwarding and progressing their college career.” Ms. Chaney mentioned how their department is not only to first-year students, but to second-year students as well. The program, called SYE, helps those students caught in “sophomore slump” maintain their motivation. Ms. Chaney went on to say that their office wants to give students much-needed support in the start of their college careers.

The department of FYE wants students to know that this program and the support it provides to students is very dear to the hearts of leaders. Chaney spoke on how it brings them great joy to see students progress and develop from “orientation to graduation.” They want to maintain the same enthusiasm and momentum students have as freshmen throughout the duration of their college career. Ms. Chaney describes the joy that arises in FYE leaders when they “see fresh faces on campus and then are able to open their minds” as they join them on their academic journey.

Despite COVID-19 taking its toll on everyone, FYE and SYE are moving ahead during these difficult times. The program is staying connected with its students via social media platforms and Zoom meetings. They do recognize the challenges that are present due to this pandemic, but remain hopeful and steadfast. This department is known as the “loving and nurturing” department, so they voiced how it is “harder for them to do certain activities with students.”

With this department being so upbeat and caring about the needs of students, they detail the activities they hold to keep that motivation and relationship between them and the student body. Some activities include First Fridays, where FYE celebrates freshmen and their accomplishments made throughout the month. They also talk to them to see if students need their perspective on their chosen ventures. During those celebratory times, the program has motivational speakers to speak to students. They do understand that students miss the feeling of being able to gather and fellowship normally, but the program ensures students that they are still “changing” and “keeping up with the times” that are presented to us. Their priority is to ensure the safety of students.

Outreach is a consistent objective in this program. Ms. Chaney tells how their most successful program involves their Peer Mentor champions. The Peer Mentor champions consist of 40 to 50 young adults that are hand selected by the office of First Year and Second Year Experience. These mentors go through an application process and an interview. After being selected, they go through a rigorous training to have the proper skills to be a mentor to others. These mentors have a 3.0 GPA or higher and are paired with first year students according to their major. Their first newsletter was published in September 2020, and it highlights the students Jalen Triplett and Carlos Brister. The two students met last year through the peer mentor and mentee connection and the experience has been very successful for both. Ms. Chaney noted that “the training Jalen had put something unique into Carlos to propel him into leadership.” As a result, Mr. Brister is now Sophomore Class President. The FYE/SYE program proudly states that “their Peer Mentor and Mentee program is their greatest accomplishment.”

The FYE/SYE program wants students to know that this is a department that cares and individually loves each student. They want students to know they understand their diverse backgrounds and try their hardest to accompany each student with their needs. This department believes in “faith, hope, and love,” and wants students to know that the greatest one is love and that is they want to give back to students.

To keep students involved, FYE/SYE has diverse workshops lined up for students this month. They have Mid-Term Test Preparation and Test Taking Skills on October 1st; So Much To Do, So Little Time! Time Management workshop on October 8th; Fostering Relationship and Communication with Professors on October 15th; Library Services on October 22nd; and Social Media Etiquette on October 29th. Also, the FYE program is partnering with the Financial Aid Office staff. Ms. Taishieka Davis, Enrollment Director of FASFA, and staff are doing a FASFA campaign for students to do early submission for the upcoming school year. The goal is to help freshmen be ready to fill out FASFA documents. This also goes with another event being held, The Registration and FASFA Invasion that is held on October 19th to the 23rd.

You can reach this department on the social media platforms of Twitter @fyesubr, on Instagram @fye_subr, by email at fye@subr.edu. The department wants students to know that they can stop by as well at Suite 1075 Harris Hall.

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