Purdue University's orientation program, or as we know it today, Boiler Gold Rush, was founded by Roger Sharritt. 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. 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.

The program was moved to Cary Quadrangle and consisted of two, one-week sessions, involving 400 students and about 50 staff members. The student staff members were housed in an office on the fourth floor of Southwest in Cary Quad.



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.

Roger Sharritt had been the advisor of Boiler Gold Rush for four years at this point. In 1996 he left the University to pursue a career in organic farming. When he 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. Two new advisors, Jessica Jackson, former Assistant Manager of Cary Quad, and Marnie LaFevor, at the time an Assistant Director of Admissions, took charge. Boiler Gold Rush then became a joint effort between the Office of Admissions and the Residence Halls.



Responsibility for planning Boiler Gold Rush shifted to the Office of Admissions and the program was open to all new freshmen. Boiler Gold Rush evolved into a five-day, student-run orientation program.

Boiler Gold Rush moved into a new department called Orientation and New Student Programs and continued to grow and expand.



Student Success Programs was created in December 2005. BGR became a part of that office and is now an integral program within that department.

More than 6,500 new students and more than 500 student volunteers took part in BGR. In 2018, BGR celebrated its 25th anniversary!


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