Students review newly mandatory first-year program

The first-year Connections program, which became mandatory this fall, is receiving mixed reviews from students.

Carrie Zimmerman, director of the First Year Experience, said the Connections class changes were put in place because shorter orientation sessions this summer made it difficult to get necessary information to students. When students are given information throughout the year it is more helpful and retained, she said.

“The information is important for all first-year students, not just the ones who think they need it,” said Zimmerman.

Connections is a 10-week program covering a wide range of topics, such as sexual assault, drugs and alcohol, organizations on campus and student resources.

The purpose of Connections is to connect students with student recourses and provide them with upperclassmen mentors and a staff resource, Zimmerman said. Connections has three classes on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. and 69 classes that meet Thursday nights at 5 p.m.

Although changes have been made to the scheduling of Connections, many students are still enjoying the experience.

“The best part about Connections is being able to have upperclassmen and faculty around for questions and support,” said Cameron Green, a freshman music education major.

Freshmen aren’t the only people learning from Connections.

“Being a Connections mentor I have learned to work with my co-mentor, prepare for classes and improve my punctuality,” said Tim Wang, sophomore secondary education major.

Jacqulyn Sisk, a freshman premajor, said Connections is also an easy way for students to network.

“It is an easy way to meet people and make new friends,” Sisk said.

Many students are happy with Connections; however, some students are not satisfied with the way Connections classes are scheduled.

“If we could chose our own times, we would be more likely to meet people with similar schedules to our own. As it is, I don’t really ever see anyone from my group because we have such different schedules,” said Trent Cruthis, a freshman religion major.

Students agreed that freshman should be able to choose what day and time they could attend Connections and sign up for the program online when students register for their classes, thus allowing students to work Connections into their personal schedules.

“I could be working right now,” said Nicole Nandrasy, a freshman graphic design major, during a Connections meeting. “I have to take off two hours of work in order to attend Connections.”