Free food and gift cards are just two of the many ways the Raider Guides tempt the freshmen to participate in their weekly events on campus.
The Raider Guides work for a program called Exceptional Beginnings (EB). The program is new to the Mount Union campus this academic year. This program replaced the previous First Year Experience (FYE) program. The FYE program was limited to approximately 220 students who applied to be a part of the program. This year there have been many changes made to the program, as it has been expanded to the entire freshmen class.
“We have had a great success with the First Year Experience program during its first six years, so it was a good time to expand it to all first year students,” said Director of EB Jesse Douglas. “With the change in the academic curriculum and the end of the Liberal Studies 100 class, there were some transition issues that weren’t going to be addressed.”
The program is made up of 34 Raider Guides and four student coordinators. The Raider Guides are trained upperclassmen whose job is to help guide the freshmen students through social and academic affairs during their freshmen year, according to Student Coordinator Patrick Yackmack. As student coordinator, Yackmack’s job is to oversee a group of Raider Guides and help facilitate the program.
According to Raider Guide John Laux, the Exceptional Beginnings program plans “two events every week, one social and one educational.” Laux also added that the programs are all planned and managed by the Raider Guides in each residential building.
The incentives for the program include monthly gift card prizes and one iPad raffle each semester.
“The purpose of the events is to bring first year students together in a care free environment that encourages them to meet new students, help the students feel more comfortable throughout their first year and help the students to learn about the resources on campus,” said Raider Guide Dylan Spangenberg.
Freshman Meghan McGary said, “I like the idea of having events in the building because I don’t have to worry about going to another building.”
According to Yackmack and Laux, Raider Guides and events help the freshmen in a way they do not realize. “The educational events allow freshmen to get an insight to the Raider Guides knowledge of what they can expect at college,” said Laux.
Spangenberg added that the events are beneficial because “they help the freshmen make new friends and they give them a place to relax and concentrate on something other than school.” The Raider Guides continue to plan their events in hopes to reach out to the freshmen population.