First Year Experience still working to build community
Riverside, Calif. (Oct. 7, 2020) – First Year Experience looks different this year.
FYE is a peer-led program intended to welcome freshman students to the university and help them transition to life as a college student. Due to the pandemic, events were canceled and the biweekly meetings were moved online. Leader interns are helping nearly 1,360 first-year students learn how to successfully navigate CBU.
Gavin Andrew, the director of FYE, said the interns are working hard to make sure the students still feel welcomed into the CBU family despite the restrictions.
“One of FYE’s main goals is to build connections and community,” Andrew said. “Our interns will share their testimonies during the lessons as well as their own experiences being in college. They also share how they have benefited from the resources provided by the university and ways the freshman students can benefit from these resources even while not being on campus.”
Christian Semon, a civil engineering junior and FYE leader, said he tries to connect new students with people who have similar interests.
“In my FYE sections, I have told many of them that I am always open to talk and have tried to connect a few of them with other people on campus,” Semon said.
For example, he has introduced some students to Frisbee and soccer groups that still meet to play on the Front Lawn.
Semon said that FYE has now added group chats in hopes of friendships forming that students can carry onto the main campus once the university has returned to normal.
Lauren Brooks, a journalism freshman, said she likes how the program allows students to be leaders.
“Being student-led adds a level of personal communication, knowing these people have been through and are going through what we are,” Brooks said. “Right now, as far as communicating with each other, we are dropping our Instagrams into the group chat and hoping connections form that way.”
Brooks said although the pandemic has made everyone nervous, she feels the university and FYE are handling the pandemic well.
“CBU is a really good school and they are handling the pandemic well and professionally,” Brooks said. “Overall it’s been a very interesting first year. Especially with living on campus and learning all the protocols. Even though this is not a traditional year, it’s still a good year.”