BGeXperience program continues to benefit freshmen

Agreen and Agreen

Every freshman at the University has gone through it.

They are all required to go through the BGeXperience program, which introduces freshmen to the University a day before classes begin.

They must also enroll in a BGeXperience class where they discuss values and develop critical thinking skills.

Freshmen Ali Shepherd and Breanna Davis, who were in the same BGeXperience class, said the program helped them feel more comfortable when they first came to the University.

“I felt a lot closer to students in that class than in any other class,” Shepherd said. “I’m still friends with a lot of them.”

This let them feel more open to talk about their opinions and see other points of view.

“We got to meet [other students] before classes and got to connect with them,” Davis said.

Shepherd and Davis also enjoyed the common reading experience book “This I Believe,” which all freshmen must read for their BGeXperience class.

“I didn’t think it was bad,” Davis said. “Some of the articles were really interesting. We all had something to talk about.”

Neal Jesse, who is on the advising committee for BGeXperience, said he did not know which book next year’s freshmen will read yet, but the program will be using the common reading experience again.

The University has used the program since 2002.

Director George Agich said the program will be able to offer more campus-wide events in fall 2010 because of an increased budget.

He said the program went through a few “lean years” with a decreased budget, but the program is starting to build back up again.

“Some of the budget was restored over the summer with the new provost,” he said. “We’ve had less extracurricular BGeXperience-sponsored events, largely because of the budget cuts.”

He said the program’s budget has been able to support small events suggested by faculty or peer facilitators, such as having a speaker come to class or going on a class trip.

Agich said he has been working with departments to ensure there is a wide diversity of BGeXperience courses for freshmen to choose from.

Jesse said the program will be going through a period of transition.

“BGeXperience is part of general education on campus,” he said. “There will be more campus-wide programming.”

The number of BGeXperience classes has been decreasing over the past years because of the budget.

“Last year we had 104 courses, where previous years we had 150,” Agich said. “The class size will remain at 35.”