Being a freshman in a university with a fall enrollment of more than 23,000 students can be intimidating. And some may feel as if they do not even matter in an environment so large.
The Freshman Advisory Council was formed during fall semester to help give freshmen a voice at Kent State. The new group has several goals to ring in the new year.
Terri Capellman, the program director of Undergraduate Studies, formed the council. She wanted her students to have the opportunity to give input about the decisions regarding themselves, said Tarrin Pelton, who is Capellman’s graduate assistant and an adviser of the council.
Jurdene Ingram, freshman pre-med biology major and member of the group, thinks the reason for the council is a good one.
“The idea behind the Freshman Advisory Council is excellent. It’s a group of freshmen from all walks of life, coming together to solve some of the everyday dilemmas that we as freshmen face,” Ingram said.
Pelton said that although the council got a slow start in the fall by only working half a semester, the efforts put forth by its members made up for it by working as hard as they could to come up with ideas to better the freshman class’ first year at Kent State.
The group’s mission statement outlines goals such as establishing good communication between first year personnel and the freshman class, maintaining constant contact with freshmen, bringing diverse perspective freshmen to Kent State and helping new freshmen feel a sense of belonging in the Kent State community.
This semester the council wants to maintain those goals, as well as begin to aid in the development of activities and events geared specifically toward freshmen, and keep the class informed of other events happening all over campus.
Pelton said that because the group is new and the members were just getting to know the university themselves, it was hard for them to get information about how to turn an event idea into a reality.
Even though many of the council’s initial ideas did not work out, they did host one campus-wide event during finals week of the fall semester. “Breakfast Under the Stars” took place in Eastway Caf‚. Food and drinks were served to any student or faculty member who wished to attend.
Gary Padak, the dean of Undergraduate Studies, along with the deans of many other colleges, and President Carol Cartwright helped out with the event.
Padak took the time to chat with some of the hungry students while he served them Belgian waffles. He said a large number of the students who showed up for the event were freshmen.
He believes that once this organization gets off the ground it is going to help freshmen find comfort in their university environment. He also feels the students who participate in the group are going to be looked at as the leaders and mentors of their class.
“We’re still starting out,” said Jennifer Chambers, a freshman secondary education major. “Since this is a first-year thing, we’re still trying to smooth out the kinks. I think second semester will go a lot better than last.”
Most of the other members had the same thoughts and feelings as Chambers. Ingram added there have been so many ideas and problems that friends of the Freshman Advisory Council members have brought up, they haven’t had a chance to master making ends meet.
Each member would probably agree the fall semester was more of a learning experience than anything else, and now the council will be able to establish itself as a strong, effective organization.
“Hopefully this committee will continue in the future,” Chambers said. “I believe it’s very beneficial to the campus.”
If anyone is interested in joining or learning more about the Freshman Advisory Council, contact Tarrin Pelton at [email protected], or visit the Undergraduate Studies offices located in Olson Hall.
Contact Undergraduate Studies and Honors College reporter Elise Franco at [email protected]