First-year course unites students

Sarah Haberecht and Sarah Haberecht

There was just something

missing at the University. But have no fear, a team of trade professionals has found it, and approximately 3,650 students are about

to participate.

Don Nieman, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was on the team to help first year students think outside

the norm.

“BG eXperience is designed to help students not only

connect with one another, a faculty member and an upper classman, but to help students think about their values and begin to develop critical

thinking skills about their

ethical decisions,” he said.

The program intends to help students see the relevance in what they are studying. It is designed to examine above the idea of general education classes, and to look at the values within the subject material, he said.

BG eXperience has students take a 25 to 30 member course known as their “V” course in the fall. This course is set up not only to learn about the material in the course, but to look at the deeper values hidden within. Yet, the program begins before Fall semester explained Nieman.

“From Friday through Sunday afternoon after move-in, the students will have an introductory session which they meet with the faculty member teaching their “V” course, a peer facilitator and students who are in the same course,” he said. “In this session they talk about their values and the course they will be taking in the fall, and also about the common reading book chosen.”

This year’s common reading book is “Into the Forest” by Jean Hegland.

Incoming freshman, Lindsey Nelson, thinks the program will help her to meet new people, and doesn’t mind the extra summer reading.

“I was really nervous to start my first year but, with this program, I feel like I’ll be able to meet people interested in the same things I am and in the same situation I am in,” she said. “It’s a great way to begin my four years here at BG. With the reading, once I got over the fact that the reading was mandatory, I got into it and it was a great book.”

BG eXperience is in its fifth year, and even past students think the program is beneficial to meeting new people and learning about their values.

Sophomore Annie Geraghty participated in the program last fall.

“It was definitely a great way to meet people, and I learned a lot, especially in the Introduction session,” she said. “It is a good program that the University provides for freshmen.”

Nieman said they’re working to improve the program every year, and they have ideas to expand it.

“Like any program, this year we worked on getting the program to run more smoothly,” he said. “Eventually, we want to move the critical thinking about values into the classes in the student’s major.”

The program is set to kick off today. Currently, the program offers “V” courses in more than 30 different subject areas and there are 147 courses scheduled for this fall.