Coaches help freshmen adjust to campus life
Robbie Chulick and Jocelyn Williams, both sophomore journalism/mass
communication majors, peer coaching provided a way to help this
year’s freshmen enjoy a smoother start to their college experience.
“I had a couple of friends who were in the program (last year)
and spoke highly of it,” Jocelyn said. “It sounded like
a great opportunity to give back to the college.”
“I was on the orientation team and it was part of our commitment
to be a peer coach,” Robbie said. “But I would have
applied anyway. I got very involved last year and wanted to show
my peer coaches that you can join organizations and get a leadership
position in the next semester and can only grow from there.”
The peer coaching program, in its second year, builds from the idea
that “students who are engaged and have strong positive relationships
with the University -- people, places, programs -- are happier,
more well-adjusted, and more successful,” explained Nancy
Casey, director of the First-Year Experience program.
Dr. Casey noted many universities have mentoring/coaching programs.
“The idea,” she added, “is that each of us often
needs a helping hand, someone to help us learn the ropes, particularly
at points of major life transition.”
Last year, Dr. Casey said, 28 peer coaches worked with 106 freshmen.
This year, those numbers have grown to almost 70 coaches and about
Coaches are asked to contact “their” freshmen regularly
and plan activities with them.
Most recently, Jocelyn said, she and her freshmen went out to dinner.
“They always have something new to talk about,” she
Robbie sat with his freshmen to show them how to register. Earlier
in the semester, they talked about time management, went to the
organization fair together and discussed study tips and Clare College.
For freshman Chaz James, it has helped to have someone simply explaining
the twists and turns of the first year.
“My experience with the peer coaching program has been great!”
Chaz said. “This program has allowed me to get help from someone
who has already gone through the struggles and adversities of being
a freshman. It is so nice to know that if I hit a road block that
makes me feel as if I could not get past it, I have someone who
will help me through it."
Chaz noted he might not have met the other three people in his peer
coaching group if he hadn’t decided to be part of the program.
Regina C. Penepent also found her group introduced her to people
she might otherwise not have met, adding she was “so glad
I decided to be a part of the program."
“Peer coaching put me ahead of everyone else. What I mean
is there was information my peer coach shared with me that other
freshman didn't know about. It was nice to have someone to answer
my questions and give me advice on how to survive the first semester
of college,” said Daulton Sherwin.
Brandon Newsome said his peer coach encouraged him to have a good
relationship with his teachers and advised him to get out of his
room for fun. He and Matthew Connelly said they liked their peer
“We try to match PCs and freshmen by gender and/or major (or
at least by school). As the program becomes more mature, we hope
to be able to match on interests more,” said Dr. Casey.
Students wishing to become peer coaches must complete an application
process, including two letters of recommendation and an interview.
Applicants must meet a minimum GPA requirement and have a clear
Most students involved last year as freshmen “really loved
the program -- as evidenced by the fact that many are back as returning
coaches this year. They felt energized and that they were giving
back to the University. There was some frustration when freshmen
didn't respond to the coach's invitation to talk and get involved,
but the peer coaches really felt positive about their impact on
many students,” said Dr. Casey.
Jocelyn is hoping to plant those seeds for next year’s freshmen.
“Hopefully,” she said, “I’ll make a good
enough impression (on her current freshmen) that they’ll want
to do it (coach) next year.”
In case of emergency...call
When you send your child to St. Bonaventure, you trust them to the
University. You hope they stay safe and healthy, but sometimes that
doesn’t happen. That’s when MERT steps in.
“MERT, the Medical Emergency Response Team, provides emergency
medical services to the St. Bonaventure campus,” said Divya
Kurian, the chief of MERT.
Security Services and (MERT) respond to emergencies as warranted.
MERT is a volunteer organization staffed by certified students,
who are advised by and work with Health Services.
“The group currently has 59 members and is open to all undergrad
and grad students on campus,” said Kurian.
Kurian, a junior biology major, joined the MERT team her freshman
“I was an EMT (emergency medical technician) at home and I
loved it. I wanted to continue so I joined here,” Kurian said.
Brooke Blazius, another junior biology major, also joined as a freshman.
“I want to be a doctor and I thought this would give me a
different look at emergency medicine,” said Blazius.
Blazius, the supply officer for MERT, said that a student’s
involvement in the group depends on how much time she wants to dedicate
“It depends on how involved you want to be,” said Blazius.
“Weekends are busier than any other time for us but it’s
your choice when you want to be on the schedule to work.”
Involvement in the group requires a lot of commitment and training
in the first few months.
“Each student who is interested in joining MERT has to go
to seven training sessions, one with each of the officers,”
said Kurian. “Members also have to attend monthly meetings
and training meetings.
“If you’re looking to become an EMT, you have to go
through EMT training and two 24-hour shifts a month with one shift
on a weekend. To become a MERT Assistant, you have to also go through
training and do one 24-hour shift a month. Officers of MERT have
to do five 24-hour shifts a month with two on the weekends,”
Even with a lot of time and dedication required, MERT members still
love to be involved.
“I took an EMT class last semester and I wanted a good hands-on
experience,” said Vineeph Sankoorikal.
Sankoorikal, a junior biology major, said he enjoys MERT because
of the community atmosphere.
“What I like the most about MERT is the community that we
make,” said Sankoorikal. “We meet new people and have
to work with them so we get to know them and it’s really nice
to make new friends.”
Kurian also agrees that MERT is a great program.
“It gives students the opportunity to become medically trained
and practice their skills in the field,” said Kurian. “I
keep doing it because I want to be a doctor. I love taking biology
courses and all, but the reason I want to be a doctor is to actually
physically help people and MERT is helping me do that.”
Class of 2013
GOING ON . . .
Upcoming events on campus include:
- Math Lab available for drop-in assistance in
Friday, 11/12 - Women's Basketball
Friday, 11/12 - Calmus Vocal Ensemble at QCA
Saturday, 11/13 - Girls
Day in Computer Science
Saturday, 11/13 - Men's and Women's Swimming and
Diving vs. Cleveland State
Sunday, 11/14 - Men's Basketball vs. Arkansas-Little Rock
Sunday, 11/14 - Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions
Sunday, 11/14 - SBU Chamber Music Concert
Monday-Tuesday, 11/15-16 - Freshman Registration
Wednesday, 11/17 - Voices presents movie Lajja
Wednesday, 11/17 - Academic Evening Away at Mt.
Thursday, 11/18 - SBU Jazz Band Concert
Saturday, 11/20 - Diwali Celebration
- Thanksgiving Recess
Thursday, 12/2 - UNIV 101 Poster Presentations
Friday, 12/10 - Last Day of Classes
Monday-Friday, 12/13-17 - Final
Examinations - Students are required to be out of their residence
halls within 24 hours of their last exam or by 10 a.m. Saturday,
12/18, whichever is first