The rest of the BG experience

Kelly Metz and Kelly Metz

When the incoming freshmen are welcomed by resident advisers, hall directors and staff, they are not only being welcomed by the University, but also by the city of Bowling Green.

Keeping this in mind, the community relations portion of the BGeXperience program was added to freshman activities to welcome students into the community with open arms and share information at the same time.

The whole point of BGeX is to talk about values and tie them into everyday life, not only in the classroom but out of the classroom. This is how the community relations section was born.

Dr. George Agich, Director of BGeXperience, speaks passionately of the program and the need for the new students to understand that Bowling Green is their home now.

‘The students bring life to this town,’ Agich said. ‘The community understands the importance of the University to its quality of life.’

Having the students watch a video, speak with an actual community member and in some cases take a tour of downtown helps put a face with the new home in which they now reside.

Caitlin Keelor, sophomore, remembers her time with the community session during BGeX as a freshman. She felt the section was of great importance to the welcome weekend orientation.

‘On campus, you feel like this is the whole city,’ Keelor said. ‘In reality, this is a smaller portion to a bigger place’hellip; it is our duty to give back and respect the community.’

Although it is important to help students respect and understand the city of Bowling Green, the community relations section is not meant to lecture students on proper behavior and is not made to scold students.

‘We want students to know not to be afraid of the community,’ Agich said. ‘We are not sending a scare message; we are sending a protective message.’

The section also educates new students on volunteer opportunities, employment, places to socialize and so on.

Anne Boggs, freshman, felt the community relations section was essential to fitting in to the University.

‘It’s hard to discuss an entire community in such a short period of time, but I feel that this section acted as a preview of what’s to come,’ Boggs said. ‘It hit the basics, which is important, since most of us are not from Bowling Green. Sure, there is much more to learn, but overall, I felt that I came out of this section having a new sense and feel for the city of Bowling Green.’

Other students such as freshman Eric MacDonald feel the section was not useful and students should learn about the community they live in one-on-one.

‘I’m from Maumee so I know and experienced Bowling Green already,’ MacDonald said. ‘Everyone is going to learn everything on their own.’

This year, faculty members who live in Bowling Green had the opportunity to act as liaisons to the community. And, some faculty members and peer facilitators took their students on tours of downtown, which is something not done commonly in the past.

‘We asked faculty and leaders of the community to come in to put a face to the town,’ Agich said. ‘We are telling students that BG is a part of all of us and welcome to our neighborhood.’

For those sections that did not take a tour, the short film they watched acted as a quick guide to what the town has to offer.

‘The video was a crucial aspect of the community section of BGeX. It was important to actually see, not just listen to, what the community has to offer,’ Boggs said. ‘Since my group didn’t go on a tour, the video acted as a quick mini-tour. Every community member that talked in the video seemed very nice and welcoming.’

The whole section is run by community leaders, faculty and students who meet and brainstorm ways to get ideas and news in the community across. Also, they discuss what they would like students to know.

According to Dr. Agich, being protective and almost parental is an important role of the community outside of the University. The community relations section was not made to tell students what they can and can not do. It was made to tell students to be safe and smart in whatever choices they make.

‘This is your town and what builds a positive community is to contribute your individuality and take in those individualities around you,’ said Agich.