Welcome; CASNR';s Ag Pals program eases transition for incoming freshmen
Eighteen years old, packing to leave home and setting out on a new venture called college. Many incoming freshmen can feel nervous, excited and anxious all at the same time, and it can be overwhelming for most. To make that path a little smoother, Texas Tech's College of Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources has a proven program to help incoming freshmen make the transition.
Ag Pals is an initiative aimed at providing student mentors to incoming freshmen. Ag Pals made coming to college a much easier transition for Alec Winfrey, a freshman animal science major from Seminole. When Alec first stepped on campus this fall he was welcomed with open arms from his big brother and Ag Pal, Bryce Winfrey, a junior agricultural communications major.
"Having them [mentors] there to get me acclimated into what the college experience is like was really big," Alec said. "It is very beneficial to everyone that is involved in the Ag Pals program."
Since Alec's first few days on campus, he said he felt at home because of the kind gestures from his brother and the rest of the mentor group. He was welcomed to the dorm with a basket-full of goodies, shown around campus and had the opportunity to meet other students during an Ag Pals dinner his mentors hosted.
While Alec was enjoying all the activities and new friends he was making at Tech, Bryce said the Ag Pals program had even more to offer. He said it was his opportunity, as a mentor and brother, to enlighten Alec and other incoming freshmen about the other social and educational opportunities across campus, and use his experiences to better their own.
As result of Alec's positive experience in the Ag Pal program, he's confident in the lasting impact student mentors can make. In fact, he's eager to be a part of it.
"Having that support from them and knowing that I can go to them for anything that I need is very comforting for me," Alec said. "I hope that I can continue to be an Ag Pal to other freshmen that move into the dorms throughout my years at Tech."
Ag Pals is a longstanding program that is unique to CASNR and Bryce said it is remarkable to see the influence student mentors are making on their younger peers and then how being a mentor is bettering upperclassmen, as well.
"Being able to see a program that really develops students, really gets them going and brings them to Texas Tech to hit the ground running is something that I really appreciate," Bryce said. "I think it is really unique to the college of agriculture."
Alec and Bryce both concur that their experience at Tech as brothers and as Ag Pals has made a lasting impact on their college careers and beyond. They said they would encourage all students in CASNR to become involved in the Ag Pals program.
"It is no easy task by any means," Bryce said. "There are responsibilities and expectations laid out for you, but it is one that is definitely worth while because being able to become involved and make an impact on these students lives is a big deal."
CassiDe Street, CASNR's Coordinator of Student Retention, said that incoming students can sign up for Ag Pals by completing an information sheet during their orientation session. Information sheets are used to get to know incoming students, and to appropriately pair each pal with a mentor.
Pairings are done based on interests, majors, hometown or other common areas. Ag Pals can request a mentor, if they know a student who is already attending Texas Tech and majoring within CASNR, she said. The Ag Pals program has been running successfully for more than dozen years, and has grown to 65 student mentors and 129 pals.
Written by Kayla Wilkins
CONTACT: CassiDe Street, Coordinator of Student Retention, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0924NM15 / For more information on CASNR's Ag Pals Program, click http://www.depts.ttu.edu/agriculturalsciences/AgPals/
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