The LiberalArtsFIT bootcamp for Academic Success ended with new students prepared and ready to begin their college career. The camp held at the University of Nevada, Reno, spanned one week starting Saturday, August 19. It began with move-in day to the dorms and gave new liberal arts first-year students a taste of the college experience. This was the first year the entire College of Liberal Arts joined the NevadaFIT event (FIT stands for "freshmen intensive transition"); previously only the psychology department in the college had participated. The LiberalArtsFIT camp was unique in that it held individual camps for each of its core focus areas: arts, humanities and social sciences.
The event's success was attributed, in part, to the liberal arts recruitment and advising team who spent several months prior, devoted to preparing and planning for the inaugural kick-off. Kristi Van Gorder, director of advising, recruitment and retention, said, "I think the students I spoke with were eager to be on campus early to get settled in - and just figure things out before classes began. [The students] enjoyed meeting other new students - realizing they are all in this together."
One-hundred incoming freshmen attended the liberal arts camp: 18 students in the arts camp, 16 in the humanities camp and 66 in the social sciences camp. In addition, the advising team also interviewed, trained and coordinated nearly 20 student mentors. Mentors came from a variety of liberal arts majors and were excited to welcome the new students and help them to navigate a "University mock-week." Each mentor was responsible for a "pack" of six students. Student mentor and psychology/sociology major Jamie Harney said, "I had one-on-one meetings with each member of my group and each one of them agreed that LiberalArtsFit significantly helped them. They all said they were more confident about their freshman year since they had a week of college experience before their classes for fall had even started."
New students were immersed in lectures in their areas of concentration and took a math course that was designed to expose the student to a midterm experience, all the while navigating campus and the numerous resources available to help them succeed academically. Tamara Scronce, director of the School of the Arts and associate professor of art, led the class for the arts students; Daniel Enrique Perez, director of the core humanities program and associate professor of world languages and literatures, led the humanities section; and Erin Stiles, associate professor of anthropology, was lead lecturer for the social sciences course.
The LiberalArtsFIT bootcamp finished on Thursday, August 24 - a few days before the start of the fall semester. "I want our students to know they do not have to do this [college life] on their own. We have a very supportive community and with hope they will reach out and continue the dialogue long after LiberalArtsFIT," Van Gorder said.