Novel Ag Pals program provides incoming students with guidance, friendship
Coming from a town with a population of less than 20,000 to Texas Tech "" where the fall enrollment was more than 33,000 "" can make some students feel intimidated. The College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources has been helping with this transition for more than 10 years with its Ag Pals program.
Ag Pals is a mentorship program where current undergraduate students volunteer to be mentors and are paired with incoming undergraduate students, pals, to guide and be a friend throughout their transition to Texas Tech.
"It gives incoming students an immediate connection to Texas Tech and the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources," said Lori Dudley, coordinator of student development for the college. "They have someone they can call, text or whatever; I think they feel more comfortable with the mentors because they know that they were in their position a year ago."
Sinclaire Dobelbower, a freshman agricultural communications major from Midlothian, said her mentors have given her care packages, cooked her dinner and escorted her to several different student organization meetings throughout her first semester. "They are always a phone call away when I get lost on campus or have a question about a class, and they always go out of their way to check on me," Dobelbower said. "They have taught me that the transition from high school to college can be a pleasant one by being great role models, support systems and friends."
Garrett Couts, an Ag Pal mentor, said the program sets CASNR apart from others on campus and shows all students how important they are to the college and university. "CASNR truly wants them to feel at home and like we are their collegiate family," said Couts, a senior agricultural communication major from Pampa. "We want them to know that we are here for them, on a personal and professional level."
Dudley said she believes the program has helped the college's retention rate and first-year student success. "I hope our students benefit from this program or if they didn't participate as freshmen maybe they can see the benefits and they'll become mentors," she said. "Just to see the program grow and getting more students involved with it is the goal for me."
Reporting by Grace Acuna
CONTACT: Cindy Akers, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor's Note: Applications to apply to become a mentor are distributed in the spring semesters and incoming freshmen may sign up for the program during their orientation. For more information see the Ag Pals website.
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