Move-in date affects BGeX

BGeXperience Director George Agich found out the same way everyone else did.

A campus update e-mail sent out Nov. 9 announced the fall 2008 move-in for first-year students is now scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 23, and upper-class students will move in Sunday, Aug. 24.

BGeXperience is a values program that normally runs from Friday to Sunday the week before classes begin and is designed to help all first-year students make a successful transition to college.

Students participate in small group discussions in a class led by a faculty member who will be one of their teachers during the fall semester and an upper-class peer mentor.

Currently, the 5-year-old nationally renowned program’s schedule is up in the air.

“It’s all in the talking stages now,” said Ryan Gardner, Resident Student Association president.

On June 22, 2007, the Board of Trustees expressed overall support for BGeXperience’s Values Initiative as part of the BGSU curriculum, but did not approve the program itself, said Linda Dobb, Secretary to the Board of Trustees.

Agich said the decision was made by Ed Whipple and Provost Shirley Baugher in the Student Affairs office to change the move-in date without any preliminary discussion.

He said he questions the reasons behind the decision and worries about the impact it will have on students. Agich said the BGeX sessions are more of a “process” for students because they can make new friends and become familiar with a core set of students. The common reading also gives students a chance to share their ideas and unique experiences, he said.

“I think it will raise the pressure for students,” Agich said.

According to statements from Whipple and Baugher, one reason for the sudden change is the fact that until three years ago, the University always had first year students arrive on campus the Saturday prior to classes, with upper-class students moving in Sunday.

Other reasons include a lack of substantive evaluation data, the overall cost, the short time between the end of summer session and the start of orientation and a number of behavior problems in the residence halls.

Whipple and Baugher have asked that a different model be recommended that will more closely align with the goals of the BGeXperience, since the small amount of data they do have indicates many students were not finding the sessions productive and felt they had too much time without structured class or out-of-class activities.

At this time, the decision is final, but they welcome suggestions for ways to improve the BGeXperience program.

As of right now, BGeX faculty are asking for one more day for the program, Agich said.

Along with the BGeXperience program, RAs, Honors Fellows, Orientation leaders, Greek organizations, athletes, band members, dining services and residence life could all be affected, said Jodi Devine, associate director of the Honors Program.

“Who gets to decide what happens that weekend?” Devine asked.

She said everything depends on how flexible BGeXperience is in offering down-time to students for other activities.

Agich said he worries BGeX won’t be able to accommodate learning communities or other organizations very well with the limited amount of time they might be given.

A University Opening Committee decides how much time is allotted to each program and organization based on information brought before them, Agich said.

If needed, Devine is considering moving Honors Learning Community students in a day early on Friday, but the cost of that is also an issue.

“There are pros and cons with the decision,” said Josh Benner, president of the Greek Inter-Fraternity Council.

He said it’s better because the freshmen will have less idle time, but worse because student organizations did a lot of work and recruiting, including all the welcome week events.

Last year, 450 Greeks moved in the day before freshmen so they could help with move-in on Thursday, so it’s unfair to parents as well as students moving-in, Benner said.

Benner also said Saturday is the day of Bowling Green’s National Tractor Pull and the day University of Toledo freshmen move-in, which could cause traffic congestion problems.

He said he wants to address the Parents Association and the City Council about the issue, since the mayor just heard about the change at a USG meeting last Monday.

Gardner said he plans to meet with Johnnie Lewis, president of USG, to collaborate about possible changes student organizations will have to make following such a major decision made without any student input.

Although Devine said the extra days do help students feel confident about walking in to their first day of class, she knows programs can adapt to the way they were 20 years before BGeX.

Every office is taking cuts, Devine said, since the University’s budget has a $3 million deficit.

As for dining services, Director Gail Finan said she doesn’t know what will happen at this point, but it will help remedy the problem that arises with upperclassmen workers needing to move-in and work before their apartment leases start.

At this point, Whipple and Baugher said they are still reviewing all budgets for students involved in first year programs and that no final decisions have been made regarding program reductions or reallocations.

In the mean time, University organizations are waiting for definite information to work with.


BGeXperience Program Awards:

-BGeX mentioned as a First Year Program to Watch in the US News and World Report

-BGeX was selected as one of 18 institutions in a national competition to receive a grant as a member of the Leadership Consortium of Core Commitments: Education Students for Personal and Social Responsibility.

– BGeX was named an exemplary program Jan. 2007 in the AAC’U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP)

Source: BGeXperience Office