Restructured Boiler Gold Rush for new students begins Aug. 16

August 5, 2014  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A revamped Boiler Gold Rush, Purdue University's orientation program for new students, will get underway Aug. 16 for about 5,500 new students.

"We've restructured the entire program," said Kasi Jones, senior assistant director of Student Success at Purdue and coordinator of orientation programs. "Based on what the university has learned from the Foundations of Excellence self-study, we're doing a full week of orientation and incorporating specific learning outcomes. The students will move in on Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 16 and 17), and the student leader-guided programming will continue through the next Sunday.

"Our perspective has changed. We would touch on some things in the past, but this year we will go in depth on resources that are available to students and give them much more information about everything, academically and socially."

Jones said officials have continued to more closely connect BGR and Boiler Gold Rush International (BGRi). This year, BGRi leaders also are BGR leaders and will continue into BGR with their new students.

BGRi, which takes place Aug. 12-16, is designed to help new and transferring international undergraduate students adjust and acclimate to university life in the United States and help them transition into the BGR program.

Jones said interest among returning students in helping with BGR is on the upswing.

"We had 1,100 applicants for the 600 team leader positions available. That shows the impact the programs have on students," she said.

Also new to BGR is more a more formal approach to welcoming students' parents and families through the Parent and Family Program, Jones said.

"During this summer's STAR (Summer Transition, Advising and Registration) program, the university learned a lot about what parents and families want," Jones said. "BGR will formally connect parents to the university through such events as a parent and family reception from 2-3:30 p.m. Aug. 17 at the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center and invite them to participate in the new-student induction ceremony from 4-5 p.m. the same day at Mackey Arena."

The new-student induction ceremony, which features university faculty, administrators and President Mitch Daniels in a commencement-like environment, has moved to Mackey Arena due to the large number of students participating, Jones said.

"All students are expected to participate in some type of student orientation. For more students, that is BGR while for others that may mean band camp, PMO or athletics programs," Jones said.

Another new aspect of BGR this year is faculty members and campus experts teaching more of the orientation curriculum, Jones said.

"Faculty and campus experts helped create these orientation lessons and develop the curricula," she said. "Some of the content will be taught by student leaders and some will be taught by faculty and experts. The faculty is very excited about doing this, and I'm sure they will add a great deal to BGR.

Faculty-taught sessions will include the topics of academic expectations, focusing on the differences between high school and college; academic integrity, student rights and responsibilities; academic success (time management, note-taking strategies); and library, research and information literacy. Sessions led by experts will include campus safety (health and wellness, cautionary driving, bicycle and pedestrian safety, sexual assault, and diversity and intercultural competence). Sessions led by peers include leadership development, financial literacy, campus technology and self-advocacy skills.

In addition, Jones said faculty will contribute to BGR by being mentors.

"We have more than 100 faculty members who will be matched with student leaders and their teams. Their role is to serve as a mentor to the new students and help them understand how to relate to Purdue's faculty," she said.

New students also will have earlier interaction with their residence hall assistants, Jones said.

"Students will have touch points with their RA every day, so they will start building community with their residence halls," she said. "RAs will bring students to the evening events. The students who are living off campus will meet with other students who live off campus."

Other BGR highlights include academic course previews; a Boiler up rally; the Be Involved Fair; and a new event, "We Are Purdue!" a diversity and international celebration.

"'We Are Purdue' will showcase different campus cultural groups to let students know how diverse Purdue really is," Jones said.

A send-off celebration at 2 p.m. Aug. 24 will close the BGR program. 

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, gmcclure@purdue.edu  

Sources:  Kasi Jones, 765-496-3627, jones114@purdue.edu

Dan Carpenter, senior associate director of Student Success at Purdue, 765-496-3618, dwcarpen@purdue.edu

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