A-term leaves traditions behind
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It is no secret that with the installation of August term, many past Transylvanian traditions will no longer be in existence. One of these long standing traditions that will no longer be present is the opportunity to participate in pre-orientation service programs, including the First Year Urban Program (FUP), Jump Start, Rising Through Education (RiTE) and CLASS.
Many of these service programs have been in existence for several years. FUP, which allows for incoming freshman to complete a week of community service at a various organizations, has been in existence since 1989. Jump Start, in which students perform a week of service to the Land Between the Lakes, was founded in 2002. RiTE was founded in 2009. The RiTE program studied the origins of poverty and tutored at Kids Cafe and the East Seventh Street Center. CLASS, which focuses a week of service on environmental and sustainability issues, is the youngest of the three service organizations as it was founded in 2010.
Although these programs were very helpful to both the Transy and the Lexington community, their loss does not necessarily harm the organizations that benefited from them. Karen Anderson, Coordinator of Community Service and Civic Engagement, believes that many other groups will step up to fill the places originally filled by these service programs.
“Lexington is very community service oriented,” said Anderson. “The short-term service projects often offered a great introduction to the Lexington community. The community needs short-term projects, but there is usually a greater need for on-going service, donations, and advocacy. I’m sad that we won’t have this week of service as an introduction, but believe we can find other ways to reach the same goals.”
University of Kentucky first-year students perform a day of service. Plus, since UK begins classes in August, many UK student volunteers will begin their service placements before Transy upperclassmen even return to campus. In addition, service is a component to several summer camps in the area. Many Fayette County Public Schools students also perform service for the community year-round, including during the month of August.
There is concern about how the absence of these programs will affect student bonding. The first-years are already experiencing an entire month of school without the presence of upperclassmen, so could the absence of these programs lead to poor relationships between the freshman and upperclassmen?
Anderson doesn’t think so. She believes that first-years will have the opportunity to bond with each other and build up a sense of comfort at Transy before the upperclassmen arrive. She also believes that bonding with the upperclassmen will still occur when classes begin, just in different ways.
Though pre-orientation programs are gone, first-years will not be deprived of opportunities to serve the community. Anderson has proposed an August Term service program schedule which incorporates direct service experience and agency tours. She has also proposed a short August Term service trip and a first-year student day of service.
Anderson hopes upperclassmen may pick up the slack, such as a week of service for sophomores, juniors, or seniors. Anderson said she would welcome student leaders proposing a program to replace week-long service programs like Jump Start and FUP, which instead focus on sophomore, junior and senior participants. Planning for such programs is expected to begin in March 2013 for August 2013.