MC Creates All-New First Year Experience Program

By Maizy Swift, asst. Production Editor

Manhattan College has put in efforts to aid freshmen students and make them feel more comfortable on campus by establishing the First Year Experience Program (FYE). 

This program allows for freshmen to have more access to events dedicated to getting them acclimated with their new college community. 

John Bennett, associate vice president of student life, is co-chair along with Kelly Marin, Ph.D., of the First Year Experience Program. 

Bennett described the different ways in which the First Year Experience Program works to help freshmen get a better chance at experiencing things on and off campus. 

“We’re trying to really push people towards planning for the first year students and the student government funding is meant to help first year program initiatives this year,” Bennett said. 

Bennett collaborated with the student government to make changes this year in order to make their goal a reality. 

“Historically, student government always sets aside some funding for faculty initiatives and requests throughout the year for different things to do within their classroom and outside of the classroom,” Bennett said. “This year we’re really looking for administrators and faculty members who want to plan something above and beyond from their syllabi and from their class or if there’s an extra trip or event going on.”

So far this year, MC has seen an increase in interest in on-campus activities, such as student government elections. 

“Something that we do have going on right now is freshman elections for student government, where the freshmen are expressing their interest to run,” Bennett said. “We’ve had more freshman students pick up interest packets this year than we did last year already.”

The First Year Experience Program is also working with the Center for Academic Success (CAS) and their new programs. 

“We’re going to partner with the Center for Academic Success more with their new programming that they’re doing to try to reach out to make sure the new students are being served,” Bennett said. “We also typically have had a retreat for new students, which is something that we’ll be looking to have again.”

Bennett said the program also aims to help include commuter freshmen as well. 

“If students reach out to us and say that they are a commuter, we’ll always give them the first time slot available that we have at night, to try to be conscious of knowing that games are going until 10 or 11pm.”

Bekah Bouton, a freshman student on the track team, explained her own experience coming to MC.
“There’s a lot of different things available to get help from, such as the Writing Center, which I need to use soon, and all of the tutors,” Bouton said. “All of the professors are super open to answering questions and taking the time to help you get connected with a tutor or anything like that.”

Even though the programs are there to help freshmen, Bouton expresses how it can be somewhat overwhelming. 

“I think sometimes it can be difficult because there’s a lot of required freshman things, but then, being on track, there’s all these required meetings and practices you have to go to plus a mandatory study hall for all freshmen athletes,” Bouton said. “So there’s a lot of stuff that you’re required to do, and only so much time to do it all.”

Shu Amanuma, another freshman, described how she felt during her transition, not only as a freshman, but as a global/international Jasper. 

 “Every professor, every advisor, they’ve all been very helpful,” Amanuma said. “I think it’s easier to make friends because everybody you know is here. If I just walk out in the common room it’s easy to meet people.”

Amanuma also stated how she felt MC could do a better job of helping commuter freshmen students. 

“I think there’s always a huge divide between commuters and residents and I think that’s something that the school could do better with during orientation and integrating those two different communities,” Amanuma said. 

Jason Maloney, a retention specialist in CAS, noted that there is a prize for freshmen if they complete the First Year Experience checklist.

“Those students who complete the list of to-dos by the last day of classes will be better prepared for the rest of their time at Manhattan College…as an added bonus, they will be entered in a raffle for 2 tickets to Six Flags,” Maloney said.