History of BGR
In 1993, Purdue University's orientation program, or as we know it today, Boiler Gold Rush, was founded by Roger Sharritt. Sharritt was a hall manager for Purdue University's oldest residence hall, Cary Quadrangle. Shreve Hall hosted the program, originally called Corn Camp, in June (in conjunction with Day on Campus). The pilot program involved 100 first-year students and 15 staff members. In 1994, it moved to Cary Quadrangle and consisted of two, one-week sessions, involving 400 students and about 50 staff members. The student staff was housed in an office on the fourth floor of Southwest in Cary Quad.
The next year, Corn Camp changed its name to Boiler Gold Rush, commonly known as BGR. The program expanded, and was held in August to involve all of the residence halls. This allowed students to move directly into the room they would be living in for the year. In 1997, responsibility for planning Boiler Gold Rush shifted to the Office of Admissions and the program was open to all new freshmen. Boiler Gold Rush is a five-day, student-run orientation program.
This year over 5,500 new students and more than 500 student volunteers will take part in BGR. Additionally, numerous student organizations, faculty, and staff will contribute their time, effort, and resources to the help make BGR a great success.
Roger Sharritt was the first advisor and founder of Boiler Gold Rush. He saw the need for an orientation program that helped students adjust to Purdue and believed the best way to do this was to have current students run the program. He was the advisor of Boiler Gold Rush for four years. In 1996 he left the University to pursue a career in organic farming. When Roger left, the Sharritt Award was created, which has been presented to a Team Supervisor who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during BGR. When Sharritt left in 1996, two new advisors, Jessica Jackson, former Assistant Manager of Cary Quad, and Marnie LaFevor, at the time an Assistant Director of Admissions, took charge. When Marnie and Jessica became the new advisors, Boiler Gold Rush became a joint effort between the Office of Admissions and the Residence Halls.
In 1999, Boiler Gold Rush moved into a new department called Orientation and New Student Programs and continued to grow and expand. When Student Success at Purdue Programs was created in December 2005, BGR became a part of that office and is an integral program within that department.
Over the years the BGR family has grown to include over twenty dedicated, professional staff members. A listing of the staff who work on BGR and other Student Success at Purdue programs, along with their contact information, can be found here.
Each year the staff work hard to make Boiler Gold Rush great. They are also involved in yearlong recruitment efforts and orientation initiatives including Preview Days, Purdue Scholars Day, Purdue's for Me, Annual Partnership Day, Fall Welcome, Winter Welcome, Purdue Promise, Purdue Opportunity Awards, Supplemental Instruction, Twenty First Scholars, Summer Transition, Advising and Registration, and Learning Communities. The staff are also avid participants in NODA, the National Orientation Directors Association.
Boiler Gold Rush is still based on the same ideology as when Roger Sharritt began the program in 1993. It is essential for new students to be in small groups with current students to help them make the personal, academic, and social transitions from high school to college and to become comfortable with Purdue and make it feel like home. The success of Boiler Gold Rush is dependent on a well-trained student staff to help the newst class of Boilermakers succeed here at Purdue.