First year experience prepares for new year

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Adam White

The First Year Experience (FYE) program at Washburn is a valuable service and organization which specializes in assisting incoming freshman adjust to college life. It is therefore highly important that all on campus are well-informed about FYE, and how to get into contact with the organization.

Senior Issac Bird is closely associated with FYE as he is an intern for the FYE department and had this to say to someone who may have never heard of FYE, “First Year Experience is the department at Washburn which is focused on making sure the students are successful their freshman semesters, giving them all the support and resources they need to really get involved on campus academically, socially, have a good time and make good choices. We handle things like peer-educating and the WU 101 classes, and there’s different organizations connected with us. We do events like the faculty debate which is mostly to get students involved, and generally we’re always there to guide students that first year.”

Regarding changes to FYE this year Bird said, “We have the peer educators, there should be two in most WU 101 classrooms, one in some smaller ones. This is the last year we’re on a specific training for peer educators and we’re actually retraining and moving forward with a new national certification for the peer educators. We recently changed the diversity assignment which is part of WU 101. Last year was the first time we had the new version so it’ll be back again and that one kind of focuses more on a student’s story and connecting them to different people on campus and help students connect their culture and other’s cultures in a college sense.”

When asked about upcoming events in which FYE would be taking part in, Bird said, “Faculty debate is in the spring. The main things involved with WU 101 are convocation, the iRead and the Bowtie Fair. Convocation is Aug. 22, the Bowtie Sept. 4 and the iRead lecture is Sept. 17. The process is pretty cool for picking the book because they try to find something different from last year’s book. It provides a lot opportunities for students to relate to core aspects of it, like with “The River of Doubt” we went through and there’s ways you can do exploration, something that’s incredibly important to college and working as a team and making difficult choices. We also have to have an author who’s willing to come and appear here because we always have an author do a lecture.”

Bird continued by saying, “Every year the paths that FYE goes on, we look at the events we’re doing and WU 101, and WU 115 and WU 120 and all the classes we teach. We see what are we doing that’s working, what are we doing that’s not working, what can we improve and what can we add? One of the biggest resources is the peer educators, that’s students in the WU 101 class that are helping the people taking the class. Peer educators are growing since they’ve been around they went from a little more than a dozen of them until there’s almost eighty now. The training for them is an important part of making sure that they’re really coming into their own as guides and advocates for students, and we have a new team each year of peer educators who are in charge, I was one of the peer educators last year, this year I’m the intern for the first year experience department. One of the best ways we help students is to give them someone who has been through what they’re going through and they can relate to a little easier than a professor or faculty member. That’s an amazing experience for people who want to get more involved on campus and is something people should be interested in.”

Bird concluded by saying, “The FYE office is in Mabee in the back-right corner, there’s pretty much always peer educators willing to lend a hand with anything and that’s also where some of our faculty are. If anyone, freshman especially though, needs help or not sure where to go if you’re out in the library just come on back.”

Students should be sure to take advantage of the services that FYE offers when adjusting to college life.

Edited by Abbie Barth, Joelle Conway