Destination Kent State greets incoming students

Jody Michael

New program replaces PASS

A group of incoming freshmen sing karaoke and play on the computers in the Rathskeller during Destination Kent State Wednesday night. Rachel Kilroy | Summer Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Kent State has begun its new program for preparing incoming freshmen for college life, and the first of three steps is now complete.

Destination Kent State kicked off this summer with the Advising and Registration program, which required incoming students to spend a day-and-a-half on campus to get acclimated to the new conditions they will face in the fall. During this time, students were able to visit their specific colleges, enjoy some of the various activities available to everyone and schedule classes for the first semester.

This replaces the Placement, Advising and Scheduling System (PASS) program, which signed students up for classes without much focus on other issues and information that freshmen face.

“The PASS program was a wonderful program. It was very efficient and got the students exactly what they needed,” said Joanna Liedel, associate director of student success programs at Kent State. “But we realized that the students weren’t able to really make a connection with other students as well as make a connection across campus because they were only able to go to a couple buildings throughout the course of the day.

“So we thought that by expanding the program to a day-and-a-half, it’d better connect them with their college, with the university, and get them across campus and also get them a chance overnight to meet other students, and have some fun along the way as well.”

While this year’s ‘guinea pigs’ never went through the PASS program and would not be able to compare the two, the student response has been mostly positive.

“I thought that the program was very useful and helped answer a lot of questions that I had,” said incoming freshman Andrew Chewning. “It was also a very easy way to meet some of the other students, so I liked it.”

In fact, his complaints were limited to simply “that we couldn’t use some of the machines at the (Student Recreation and Wellness Center)” during an hour of visitation there later in the evening.

The students also visited the cyber cafe located in the lower level of the student center. There, students could partake in karaoke, card games, billiards and other activities.

The central location for most of the events was the Eastway Center. Students had their meals at the Eastway cafeteria, spent time at the bowling alley and stayed overnight in the adjoining residence halls.

Topics discussed in the several presentations throughout the schedule of events included campus issues for today’s students, academic expectations and campus living and dining. The program’s final event was a resource fair held in the Student Center as staff answered any remaining questions that students or their parents may have had before returning home.

Helping the new students throughout their stay were roughly 25 upperclassmen termed “flash guides.” They also noticed the benefits of the new program.

“I think Destination Kent State is an outstanding program,” said Allison Kukral, a flash guide who is about to begin her senior year. “It allows the students to connect with the university and better prepare them for their first year of college.”

The second part to Destination Kent State is the Welcome Weekend that lasts from Aug. 28 to Aug. 30. The events are condensed from the former Week of Welcome (WOW), because Advising and Registration already incorporated many of the items WOW would have covered.

Welcome Weekend includes a discussion about the new students’ summer reading project, workshops and a convocation at the M.A.C. Center where President Lester Lefton will introduce himself to the Class of 2013. Activities are mixed in to provide students with some fun before classes begin.

The third stage of the program is the First Year Experience course that is placed on the fall semester schedules of all first-year Kent State students. By then, freshmen will be comfortable and prepared for their time as a Golden Flash.

“Having seen the program operate for six weeks, I believe we provide the freshmen with more information than they even realize,” Kukral said.

Contact news correspondent Jody Michael at [email protected].