Campus Connections: Campus life

Mary Gerardy, the associate vice president and dean of Campus Life, talked to an audience of about 250 at Campus Connections last week about the vibrant campus efforts that started about 10 years ago, led by students who wanted more activities, traditions and hangouts.

Gerardy said that Campus Life has tripled the number of non-Greek activities on campus since the 2009-10 academic year. The addition of The Barn to campus has been part of the success story, with 53 percent of the students’ events there being non-Greek and 49 percent of the events held there not involving alcohol.

The new programs have also encouraged more Greek organizations to hold their events on campus, greatly increasing the number held now compared to the 2009-10 academic year.

Gerardy also walked the audience through a student development program called My Journey. The program targets students by class, with activities, challenges and communications specifically aimed at their growth, development and class identity.

The first-year students have a program called Awakenings that helps them transition to campus, find friends, deal with exams and test anxiety, as well as promote bonding among students on each floor of the residence halls.

Sophomore INventure provides messages around key themes such as academic success, cultural competency and service, gratitude, healthy relationships and more.

Next year, the junior class will be involved in a program called Connections. Junior year is a time when students look outward and learn more about themselves and their place in the world.

Senior Celebrations helps prepare students for a transition that can be more difficult than trading high school for college. The Campus Life teams will prepare and equip students with real life skills and information, while celebrating their accomplishments before the commencement ceremony.