Within Student Life at Berea College, we take a co-curricular approach to programming, connecting what is learned in the classroom to what is implemented in hall programming as well as campus-wide events. In using this approach, a well-rounded educational experience can occur. Additionally, Student Life approaches programming in a way that uses Nevitt Sanford’s student development theory of “Challenge and Support” (1968). Sanford says challenges are present when a student does not necessarily have the knowledge or skills to cope but can do so when support mechanisms are strewn throughout that situation. For example, when hosting our social hours, it can be a challenge for some students to be social with each other let alone faculty or staff. We challenge students to participate in this while also putting in the support mechanisms of conversational prompts or familiar faces such as peers or faculty and staff who are familiar to the student(s).
Programming is an important aspect of the student experience at Berea College and in Student Life. Student Life prides itself in providing a high volume of programmatic offerings while doing our best to never sacrifice quality. From Week of Welcome (WoW) to Social Hours to Bingo Nights and more, we offer a variety of educational and social programming. Our goal is always (as our mission states) to deliver high quality co-curricular programs and services in a learning environment that supports holistic growth and development.
In the fall of 2018, Student Life implemented what would become an annual week of activities we refer to as Week of Welcome or WoW. The purpose of WoW activities is to acclimate new students to campus while also integrating returning students to socialize amongst each other and the new first year students. Activities range from low-impact social activities such as ice cream socials to more high-impact events like Cornhole tournaments or speakers who engage our students in important dialogues surrounding anything from responsible behaviors to culturally sensitive material.
Each event was planned by students and professional staff with the goal of ensuring the most exciting and welcome experience for all of our Bereans! In addition to the activities, partnerships abound within this week as we work together with the Office of First Year Initiatives, Dining Services, Alumni Relations, and others to bring a well-rounded experience to the forefront of the first full week of classes and labor!
For more than 144 years, Berea College has celebrated Mountain Day. This is a college holiday in which we celebrate all the things that represent Berea College. We celebrate that “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth” as we come together as a community to celebrate the natural beauty of the surrounding area, the culture of the students and community we strive to embrace and respect every day, and the embodiment of our eight Great Commitments.
We offer hikes to the top of the pinnacles including one at sunrise that culminates in being at the top of the pinnacles when the sun rises and all joining in song singing “Berea Beloved”. Mountain Day includes kettle corn, booths from different departments, registered student organizations, and some community partners, and dance performances by many of our Berea College dance and music groups including Black Music Ensemble (BME), Concert Choir, and Country Dancers to name a few!
Every year around Halloween, Student Life hosts a weekend of events we call “Hallowpalooza”. From family-friendly events such as trick-or-treating for non-traditional students and their families to trick-or-treat for our students as well, it is a great way to come to together as community for fun, socializing, and engagement in campus partnerships.
A few things that typically happen every year include walking tacos, registered student organizations or hall booths with various activities, and trick-or-treating for both non-traditional students and their families as well as our students in the residence halls. Each of these pieces strive to engage our community in a way that continues important relationship building and interpersonal interactions.
In the spring of 2018, Student Life, in partnership with the Student Government Association, hosted what would become an annual 5K to Finals race. This race is a walk/run event that brings faculty, staff, students, and even the City of Berea together for the purposes of enjoying a walk/run event to reach the end of the academic year and power through Finals! Participants must register ahead of time, partake in a safety briefing the morning of the event, and come prepared to have fun!
A first, second, and third place medal is awarded in each race category ranging from student categories to faculty/staff and community member categories. This event typically ends with an end of year celebration and has been hosted at the Farm Store lawn and most recently at Blue Ridge Residence Hall in partnership with their bi-annual Ridgefest event.
Each month from August – November and January – April, Student Life hosts what we call social hours. These events bring faculty, staff, and students together for conversation, lunch, and social time that builds relationships and fosters a sense of community among our Berea Beloved. The social hours began in the spring 2018 term and have continued as the campus community enjoys the engagement and interaction that these events bring forth for the college.
For the 2019-2020 Academic year, our social hours will be themed with a specific department, club/org, or initiative on campus using part of the hour to share their services with our attendees. We will still aim to use half of our time together for simple conversation and engagement with one another. We look forward to another great year of social hours where we can strengthen our Berea College community! #OneBlood