A new initiative from the Office of First Year Experience Program is trying to encourage student engagement through campus events and activities.
The Hoosier Experience is designed to connect first-year students with new educational and social resources, said Sarah Nagy, an FYE associate director in charge of the program. Nagy said the program is a great way for students to begin to feel like they belong at IU.
Students can download the FYE app, which contains a schedule of campus events. The ones that count toward the Hoosier Experience program are marked as featured events, such as CultureFest and the Student Involvement Fair. Students who complete six featured events will receive the new First-Year Hoosier Experience Achievement Award.
“IU is investing in its first year students,” Nagy said.
All featured events focus on one of the four elements of student engagement outlined by FYE — academics and careers, arts and humanities, equity and inclusion as well as local and global. They are designed to educate students and to connect them with new resources, organizations and people.
Nagy said four committees made up of faculty, staff and students design and chose the current featured events and will work to include more throughout the year.
If a student completes six featured events, he or she will receive the First-Year Hoosier Experience Achievement Award as an electronic certificate. Nagy said the award was designed to help boost first year students’ resumes if they do not have many previous experiences or achievements.
“We’re giving them a great foot forward,” Nagy said.
Committee member Robert Gonyea also said the award is a way for a students to promote their involvement on campus to potential employers.
“It shows that you didn’t sit in your dorm room and play video games all the time,” Gonyea said.
Gonyea is the associate director for the Center for Postsecondary Research and coordinates research and reporting with the National Survey of Student Engagement. He said he expects his experience with the survey will help him as an adviser for the new program.
Gonyea said the committees are focused on highlighting existing campus experiences for students more than creating new ones.
This was one of the initial motives for the program. Nagy said the idea for the Hoosier Experience program came after IU hired consultants to find ways to encourage student engagement on campus. This included finding campus resources and experiences that had not received much attention in previous years.
While it is only the beginning stages, Nagy and Gonyea are both looking forward to the Hoosier Experience program’s future. Nagy said she imagines the number and level of featured events will grow with time.
Gonyea said he hopes the Hoosier Experience program grows to the point that the whole student body is aware of it and could explain the program to anyone who asked.
Gonyea added he hopes the program encourages students to get out and find new passions.
“If you get involved, there is merit to doing that and the University is going to recognize that," Gonyea said.
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