An additional 200 incoming freshmen will be able to participate in Welcome Week with the creation of 10 new options over the last two years. The New Student Programs has added five new programs each year due to increased enrollment in the Freshmen Service Experience and Discover D.C.
FSE allows 600 students to participate in its weeklong program and Discover D.C. accommodates 400 students, according to New Students Programs Director Tiffany Sanchez. However, this is not enough for the 1,500 students starting in the fall.
“The main purpose for creating these new programs was to provide more spaces to give students the opportunity to experience one of our Welcome Week programs,” Sanchez said.
While the main goal was to create more room for participation during Welcome Week, the additions also gave New Student Programs the opportunity to create programs with unique academic components.
“The new programs give students the option to experience a more intellectually challenging program,” Sanchez said. “It also gives students a chance to meet faculty members in that department.”
The new programs include:
Sustainable Campus, Sustainable City, which allows students to become more familiar with the Office of Sustainability’s staff, activities and resources. “The goal is to introduce these students to the wide array of opportunities available in D.C. and at AU, to learn about sustainability and turn that knowledge into action,” Chris O’Brien, the director of sustainability, said.
Incoming students can also participate in Connecting Faith and Social Action, which is coordinated by the Kay Spiritual Center. “The program was created to provide incoming students with the opportunity to explore the intersections of faith and social action,” student leader Ethan Goss, a College of Arts and Sciences senior, said. The main goal of the program is for “the participating students [to] gain a deeper appreciation of how civic and religious understandings of service and social justice coexist and interact,” Goss said.
Bon Appetit’s AU Top Chef teaches students basic cooking skills and culminates with a culinary competition. “We want students to walk away with a better understanding of Bon Appetit’s initiatives on sustainability and food policies,” Michelle Mooney, general manager of Bon Appetit said.
Sites and Bikes is a way for students to actively explore D.C. in an eco-friendly way. “We hope that students who participate in the program will learn that D.C. is very accessible,” Assistant Dean of Students Marianne Huger said. “During the program we will be biking, walking and using public transportation to get to many [of] our destinations.” This program will be run through the D.C. Bike Share program and by the Office of the Dean of Students.
Analyzing D.C. Molecule by Molecule will show students D.C. has more to offer than just politics. “My goal is to get students excited about science and to broaden their minds to ways that science connects to their college experience besides their [General Education] requirements,” Abigal Miller, assistant professor of chemistry and the program’s creator, said.
Student Government President Emily Yu said these new programs will allow students to choose from a wide variety of areas to study.
“The more specific, smaller programs could serve students with focused interests really well,” she said. “I personally think that a lot of these smaller programs are very interesting and explore themes that New Student Programs and the University at large may not have taken such a close look at in the past.”