Programs help freshmen ease into college

Hawk Squad member Brain Froemming knows what it’s like to be a freshman at UW-Whitewater.

He knows the kind of stress you’re dealing with when it comes to making new friends, finding your way around campus and knowing how to get involved.

That’s why Froemming, a senior Resident Assistant, decided to become a member of the Hawk Squad, so he could help make the first year of college as rewarding for freshmen as it’s capable of being.

“We help students in a number of different ways,” Hawk Squad member Brian Froemming said. “We run small group sessions where we provide information on all the different resources around campus, make podcasts for incoming freshmen to watch and help students register for classes.”

Froemming is one of nine students on the Hawk Squad who help plan events leading up to and surrounding Club U-Dub-Dub, which is freshman orientation.

“We have a really big intro for Club U-Dub-Dub coming up this week which will be really good,” Froemming said. “We also have Family Fest, which is our big event where we invite all the families in with all the new students and we put on a big carnival type atmosphere.”

Hawk Squad is one of many programs run through the First Year Experience Office. Matt Aschenbrener, the assistant vice chancellor of enrollment and retention, has helped in the planning of First Year Experience for over a year now.

Aschenbrener said FYE is important because it helps breakdown the barriers and fears that incoming students may have about coming to campus.

“I would say FYE programs really help bridge the transition to college life,” Aschenbrener said. “It’s really a continual orientation program that the FYE and learning communities office does for us.”

With each incoming freshmen class, Aschenbrener said it’s always a unique experience.

“In terms of their expectations, I think many of them come in with a blank slate, not knowing what they’re going to have for an experience,” Aschenbrener said. “But I think there’s always that sense of excitement. They’re excited about going to the orientation activities and getting set up in their residence halls.”

According to Aschenbrener, new incoming freshmen classes are planned about 18 months in advance in order to cope with unknown factors such as an increase in the number of incoming students or a change in the budget. Plans for the fall semester of 2013 have already started, Aschenbrener said.

“We know how many students we have to hire, and we have a really good sense in terms of what we’re going to need to either ramp up or add a couple of extra sections to different areas or adjust things appropriately.”

Froemming said he welcomes the increase of students and takes pride in helping them as a member of the Hawk Squad.

“I think it’s awesome,” Froemming said. “It’s fun having more and more freshmen and more students come into this university. There’s new ideas, new people, more diversity.”

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