BGeX program put to the test in feedback session

BGeXperience, waste of time or worth your while?

This question, asked to 166 freshmen and sophomores in McDonald residence hall Sunday night, resulted in 99 students thinking it was a waste of time and 67 students thinking it was worth their while.

The BGeX program, initiated in 2002, requires all freshmen to participate in a three day introduction prior to the start of semester classes and to take one general education class with the program.

“I felt that the whole experience would have been a good idea if it hadn’t been taken to the extent that it was,” said freshman Kasie Kimball. “I felt that the tasks we did as a group were repetitive and useless.”

Kimball said the summer reading was not discussed in her class, but the idea of it didn’t sit well with her anyway.

“Even if [the reading was discussed], I feel that it would have been an inappropriate atmosphere for a discussion to take place due to the fact that we had just been thrown in a group with 30 strangers,” she said.

However, out of the 67 students who believed the program was beneficial, many said they enjoyed arriving on campus before any of the upperclassmen and meeting other freshman more than the values part of the program.

This segment of BGeX applies the concept of values throughout the classes’ criteria and during the three-day introduction.

“At the time I didn’t like it because I thought it was pointless,” said freshman Aneta Domazetouski, who appreciated the program in retrospect because she was able to meet a lot of people.

“Now I think it was a good experience because I met a lot of people through that [class], because it was a really laid back class,” she said. “If it wasn’t for that class, I probably would have been more nervous.”

A common element in both groups of students was that the program still needs primping.

“Maybe not having it be three days [long] because it was repetitive,” Domazetouski said.

Condensing the three-day introduction was ideal to Kimball as well.

“I would still have the experience, however I would pack it into one or two days with fewer events,” she said, explaining that because everyone was on the same schedule and in their dorms for the first time at the same time, everything was in disarray.

“… The line for the shower was out of control and the dorms overall were simply chaos,” Kimball said.

The content learned in the three-day introduction would be too much to learn in one or two days, according to BGeX director George Agich.

“You need some time to digest,” Agich said, adding later that although repetition may result in the three day introduction, it can actually be a positive element.

“The notion of repetition is how we learn … [It’s] essential in the learning process,” he said, adding the analogy that people don’t learn how to get through a complex video game by going through it once, they have to go through it over and over again and possibly consult others on how to do it successfully.

BGeX also gives out surveys at the end of the introduction which Agich said showed that many students did think the weekend was worth their while because they were able to meet other students and faculty and adapt easier to the University.

But concerning the values part of the program, some students think that values should be instilled at home, not at school.

However, Agich said the idea of having values discussed in the classroom is not meant to impose them on students, but to open up students to think differently and speak up about it, even if it’s opposite of what the teacher thinks.

“Good students always challenge faculty,” he said. “I want teachers to admit that they don’t know the answer to a question … so they can say ‘let’s pursue that together.'”

Another goal of the program is to help students feel more comfortable communicating in a classroom, Agich said.

“Some students become wallflowers and don’t ask for help or ask questions … and that’s a problem,” he said.

However, students like Kimball said diving deep into the topics discussed at the sessions during the introduction was a humdrum experience.

“Getting together with your class and getting to know new people is a good idea, but going too in depth only makes the whole event tedious,” Kimball said. “I felt like I had been handed freedom coming to college only to have it taken away by the university … I personally would have liked more free time in order to grasp the whole concept without being rushed into mandatory meetings.”

Agich welcomes comments and criticisms, and said BGeX has created a student affairs advisory committee and is in the process of getting students on the committee.

“The program curriculum is a work in progress,” Agich said. “We’re seriously concerned about these kinds of comments … I want to be responsive.”