By Elijah Mckenzie

The University of Louisville can be an interesting place for newcomers. Exhibiting a unique academic culture full of innovative staff and faculty, U of L can offer students the chance to create a new chapter in their academic careers.

The Office of First Year Initiatives is one of the many networks designed to help new and transfer students make a successful transition to U of L.

Christy Metzger, director of the Office of First Year Initiatives, said the main goal of her office is to support students in becoming active and engaged members of the Louisville community, leading them to success in their first year and beyond.

According to Metzger, some of the main programs sponsored by the First Year Initiatives are designed to prepare students for classes and to make them feel at home when they arrive on campus.

1. CAPS, a support organization led by a group of student mentors, connects students with other students who share similar academic interests. The program’s content incorporates the CAPS theme – Civic, Academic, Personal and Social – while the leaders assist students in understanding and preparing for the start of the term.

“CAPS leaders will give students the scoop on college life at U of L,” said Metzger. “Leaders will also help new students learn how to log into Blackboard, so they can start their STOMP modules, if they want to learn more about U of L basics.”

2. STOMP, or Student Tutorial Online Module Program, is the academic orientation course that many students will take as part of their General Studies 101 course in the fall semester. The STOMP modules work to inform students of opportunities to get involved in campus activities and to highlight the academic policies and procedures at U of L.

3. Book-in-Common is designed to support new students in their transition to U of L and to engage the campus community through a variety of activities related to a shared text. This year’s Book-in-Common is “The Other Wes Moore.”

“Reading the Book-in-Common is another great way to get involved over the summer, because everyone will be meeting in small groups at Welcome Week and also getting to meet the author later on,” said Metzger. “Being part of that program automatically gives new students something to talk about with faculty and other students.”

4. Welcome Week, which takes place August 17-21, includes several events tailored to introduce incoming freshmen to the different involvement opportunities at U of L. Top events include the CAPS Ceremony and Presidential Convocation; Student Outreach at the University of Louisville, or SOUL, service events; and a session with Michael Anthony, director of the Cultural Center.

5. The First Rate Year, commonly known as the FRY, is a monthly newsletter for new students. The FRY helps students stay informed about transition issues and campus events, as well as giving tips on where to find free food on campus.

Metzger said that, for freshmen students, finding a niche in college can be tricky. However, with the help of the programs sponsored by First Year Initiatives, students can discover the best way to get involved and to make the most out of college.

“U of L and First Year Initiatives offer so many opportunities, but nobody is going to force you to take advantage of them – just like nobody is going to force you out of bed on a rainy day for that 8 a.m. class,” said Metzger. “Use the summer to get ready for an amazing experience, and continue to make the most of your college experience from your first day here to your last.”