New students begin Purdue experience with orientation program

August 8, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Boiler Gold Rush, the Purdue University new student orientation program involving about 5,500 new students, this year features an expanded program for international students and enhancements of components added to last year's event.

The second Boiler Gold Rush International (BGRi) began Tuesday (Aug. 6) and runs through Sunday (Aug. 11). It is designed to help new and transferring international undergraduate students adjust and acclimate to university life in the United States and also will help them transition into the one-week Boiler Gold Rush (BGR) program that is Aug. 11-18.

During BGRi, students will temporarily live in one residence hall and be assigned student mentors. Time will also be allotted for them to work with the Office of International Students and Scholars. The programming includes topics on Purdue resources and aspects of higher education in the United States. The small-group format will help new students build relationships with their mentors and with one another.

"BGRi is bigger this year," said Dan Carpenter, senior associate director of Student Success at Purdue. "Nearly 600 students will participate this year, compared to about 350 last year. International students said last year's program really helped them, and we know that it contributed to participants' overall success at Purdue."

Carpenter said several events have been added to the core program, BGR. All are aimed at improving students' academic success.

These include the new-student induction ceremony. The event features university faculty and administrators, attired in academic regalia, taking the stage inside Elliott Hall of Music. President Mitch Daniels will speak and officially welcome the class of 2017, Carpenter said.

Another academic success-oriented event is a day focused on large enrollment courses that students will face during their first semester. The Aug. 15 activities include preview sessions for these foundational courses, along with sessions on using technology to enhance learning offered by Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP).

"We had mock lectures and academic preview sessions last year as a pilot program," Carpenter said. "We have institutionalized and expanded it. Last year, faculty offered five high-enrollment courses to give students a preview. Faculty recognized the opportunity this presents to enhance student success and have worked with us to offer 13 sessions this year."

Students may attend any of the previews offered.

Carpenter said each of the colleges and schools at Purdue will again offer new-student welcome programs during BGR.

"This is something else all of the programs did last year, and it had quite a bit of success," he said of the sessions that help connect students with faculty and staff from their programs. "The improvement this year is that nearly all of these programs will be held at the same time, which should enhance overall attendance."

A new feature will be the Boiler Bridge Bash, from 6-9 p.m. Aug. 15 at Tapawingo Park in West Lafayette, the John T Myers Pedestrian Bridge and Riehle Plaza in Lafayette. Carpenter said the event is designed to encourage students to explore Lafayette and will include tricycle races, bicycle polo and a group bicycle ride. For more information, visit

Carpenter said student mentors are being asked to maintain their role with new students after BGR ends.

"Every year we recruit, select and train about 500 students to help lead BGR. Their role as leaders formally ended when BGR ended," Carpenter said. "Although in many cases leaders would have some contact with students, it wasn't a formal process. Now we're formalizing that, and the student leaders are expected to remain connected to their new students and serve as mentors to new students throughout their first academic year."

Also, Carpenter said that President Daniels asked BRG staff to increase the program's focus on four issues: diversity and inclusion, pedestrian and bicycle safety, financial literacy and debt and academic honesty.

"Those were already elements of the program but there will be some enhancements this year," Carpenter said

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711,

Source: Dan Carpenter, 765-496-3618,

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