This summer, Berea College’s Office of First-Year Initiatives coordinated several events and programs designed to provide students with many opportunities and necessary resources to achieve success at Berea. While the Berea Bridge program and Summer Success Experience (SSE) both seek to foster a strong work ethic and thirst for learning in Berea students, they do so in different ways.
The Berea Bridge program, started in 2014, serves incoming freshmen by exposing them to coursework and setting academic expectations to help them transition into life at Berea. As part of this program, students take a course in social science/humanities and one natural science-based course. The Bridge program also gives students the chance to get to know Berea and the surrounding region via weekend field trips and labor positions. This helps students find a proper balance between their labor position, academic work, and life outside of school.
This summer, Berea Bridge enrolled 61 students, facilitating two different cohorts. In addition to coursework, students served in labor positions on campus as either facilities assistants or on the College Farm, Greenhouse, or Grounds. During their outings, cohorts hiked Anglin Falls, took on the Eastern Kentucky University Challenge Course, and traveled to Cumberland Falls and Red River Gorge for whitewater rafting and mountain climbing. Each cohort also attended a day-long retreat at Snug Hollow Farm to play field games, perform reflective writing, and think strategically about the upcoming Fall semester and beyond. The program wrapped up on Wednesday, August 9 with a dinner and talent show on campus.
Summer Success Experience
The Summer Success Experience, which has served over 80 students since it started in 2013, serves rising sophomores at the College. It assists students in re-engaging with the College and developing additional skills for success through a comprehensive, eight-week program. In addition to enrolling in Summer Term sessions of a General Studies course and Developmental Math course, students also attend a “Strategies for Academic Success” course. As part of the SSE, students also attend weekly study tables and facilitated workshops related to student success.
One 2016 SSE participant had this to say about the experience: “Thank you for giving us this opportunity to realize what’s important and how to change some habits that might have affected our performance in school. I appreciate the effort you took to help us and guide us onto the road of success.”
As part of the SSE this year, cohorts took trips to the Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park and National Cemetery; visited the Lincoln Foundation and Whitney M. Young, Jr., Birthplace outside Louisville; toured the Toyota Factory in Georgetown, KY; and attended a Lexington Legends game, where students spoke to one of the statisticians and toured the press box.