Cronkite Village gives journalism freshmen sense of community

August 18, 2015

Editor's note: As ASU gears up for the start of classes this week, our reporters are spotlighting scenes around its campuses. To read more, click here.

Golan Bosnino has found his people. students sitting on floor in a circle ASU journalism freshmen gathered for at the Cronkite School on Aug. 18 for an orientation in which they ate pizza and answered “Jeopardy!”-style trivia questions. Download Full Image

“A bunch of us stayed up until 2:30 a.m. talking about sports and journalism last night,” he said. “We’re all interested in the same things.”

It’s the benefit of being grouped with people who share your passions.

Bosnino, from Rancho Mirage, California, is a freshman living in ASU’s Cronkite Village at the Taylor Place dormitory on the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Cronkite Village is one of 32 residential colleges across the four campuses in which students live and learn together. Barrett, the Honors College, and Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College have “villages” on all four campus.

ASU’s residential-college model builds a sense of community among students who are studying the same major. The villages are also a place of refuge for frazzled freshmen, who are learning this week that they must lean on their community assistants as well as each other.

“You’re living with other folks who are suffering the same classes you are,” said Mary Cook, director of student success at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Cook has been a parent figure for the past five classes of freshmen, soothing homesick students and reassuring frantic parents.

And while the Cronkite students are aiming for a career that requires toughness, they still need tender loving care.

“They're like any other college kids, and their parents are like any other parents – panic-stricken at leaving their kids here,” Cook said.

More than half of Cronkite’s 247 freshmen are from out of state.

“It’s very hard for them. They’re far from home, and they get homesick,” Cook said. “So we work to keep them engaged. It’s a matter of connecting with them as human beings as opposed to a sea of faces.”

On Tuesday, the freshmen gathered for an orientation in which they ate pizza and answered “Jeopardy!”-style trivia questions.

“It really helps with study groups, and it’s a nice way to transfer that community from the classroom to the residence hall,” said Sarah Jarvis, a junior at Cronkite who is a community assistant for Cronkite Village.

Isaiah Wrinkle, a freshman from Bullhead City, is looking forward to getting academic help in Cronkite Village.

“We all have the same classes so it should be easy if someone needs help,” he said. “There’s always someone to talk to.”

Jarvis ran part of the “Jeopardy!” game with a team of freshmen.

“What is Arizona State University’s College radio station?”

“What year did the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication move to the Downtown Phoenix campus?”

The freshmen strained to come up with the answers. (The radio station is the Blaze and Cronkite moved downtown in 2008.)

Finally, Jarvis asked a question that everyone knew.

 “Who’s your new mama?”


Mary Beth Faller

Reporter, ASU News


Peer mentors help New College freshmen find their feet

August 18, 2015

Editor's note: As ASU gears up for the start of classes this week, our reporters are spotlighting scenes around its campuses. To read more, click here.

Transitioning from high school to college can be tricky. Nobody knows that better than the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences peer mentors. students sitting in ballroom Confetti litters the floor at the New College Welcome Assembly for new students at La Sala Ballroom at ASU West campus on Aug. 18. Download Full Image

At the start of each fall semester, they see to it that incoming New College freshmen know where to go, whom to contact and what to do in the event that they are faced with an unfamiliar situation, which they inevitably will be.

On Tuesday morning, the peer mentors donned their gray and black Henleys and got to work at the New College Welcome Assembly on ASU’s West campus, guiding students in activities like ice-breaker games – sharing what they did over summer vacation, what their favorite TV show is and whether they prefer an iPhone or an Android (iPhone appears to have won by a small margin).

Students also took part in the New College tradition of stamping their handprints on a canvas labeled with their graduating year. The tradition began in 2012, with the class of 2016; the canvases from each year since then hang proudly in the New College offices at West campus.

Though ice-breakers and traditions add a fun element to the assembly, its main purpose is to ensure students are well-prepared to tackle their first year as a Sun Devil. ASU News was on hand to glean some first-year advice from peer mentors, staff and even an assistant dean. See what they had to say below.

Utilize available resources

The main thing Jenna Graham wants New College freshmen to know is this: Make use of the resources at your disposal.

“The Student Success staff and the New College peer mentors are here to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact any one of us when you need to. Life happens and we’re here to help,” says Graham, a transition and retention specialist for Student Success at ASU West.

Have an open mind

Kelly Spencer, lead peer mentor, tells freshmen, “Don’t be afraid to dive into new experiences, even when they’re outside of your comfort zone.”

College is a fresh start

Sometimes students can be bogged down by past academic or personal blunders. But Drew Koch, a first-year experience program coordinator for Student Success, says it’s best to put that all behind them and focus on starting anew.

“You don’t need to be defined by your past,” he says.

Master time management

Peer mentor Wilma Jackson can’t express how important it is to manage your time well, especially as a freshmen. According to her, getting into the habit early is of utmost importance.

Get involved

This bit of advice from Anne Suzuki, assistant dean of enrollment services, is short and sweet but impactful. Being involved in your campus community can go a long way toward enriching your college experience, she says – and even your life beyond that.

Emma Greguska

Editor, ASU News

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