Hundreds of first-year students will begin flooding the campuses of Utah State University in Logan, Blanding and Price this week, eager to begin their USU 1010 Connections course. All employees are invited to help welcome these students to the Aggie family by participating in this year’s Luminary, held Aug. 27 beginning at 8:30 p.m. on the Logan campus. Faculty and staff are encouraged to line the Luminary processional route to welcome new students to campus, meeting on the west side of the Quad at 8:30 p.m. Faculty in Logan are encouraged to wear regalia to the ceremony.
The Luminaries at USU Blanding and USU Eastern will also be held on Aug. 27. Employees at the USU Blanding campus should meet at 8:30 p.m. at the Arts and Events Center, as students walk from the Friendship Amphitheater toward the BAEC.
Employees at the USU Eastern campus should meet at 9:15 p.m. outside the east doors of the Geary Event Center. Students will march from the GEC to the fountain field. President Cockett will make an address at the Logan campus Quad that will simultaneously be broadcasted at both campuses at 9:45 p.m.
The Connections course has been a staple for incoming Utah State University students for many years, helping ease them into their first semesters of college. Now, the course offers even more for students, providing each student on the Logan campus with a year-long faculty mentor. USU is the only university in the state to offer this type of mentorship to incoming students.
USU’s 1010 Connections course is a two-credit course designed to ease a student’s transition into college life, and helps students understand the purpose of higher education and how they can take advantage of the many opportunities and challenges available to college students. Classes discuss how students can go about developing habits of mind that will help them professionally, civically, and personally throughout their lives. About 70 percent of students take Connections in their first year and more than 90 percent of them say it helped them learn how to better engage themselves in the process of becoming an educated person.
Junior Ellie Roberts, a marketing and international business major, participated in last year’s Connections course, the first to offer the year-long mentorship to students. Having never set foot on USU’s campus, Roberts was excited to take the course to be able to learn about the resources and tools she would need to succeed. After leaving the course, she saw how her professor, Dr. Rose Judd-Murray, really acted as a mentor, offering any help she was able to give students.
“In my connections class, our professor put in the effort to not only be a mentor but also a friend,” Roberts said. “She taught me how to drive in the snow. She wanted to make sure I was safe. That was one of the instances where I realized I have this person who will be there for me the entire time I am in college. I absolutely love her for that. She was phenomenal as a mentor and has helped me get to where I want to go.”
This mentorship continued throughout her first year at USU. Roberts turned to her faculty mentor often during her first year, and now works as a peer mentor herself. Roberts encourages every new student she meets to take Connections. She saw the difference it made for her, and wants each student to have that same opportunity.
“I came to college thinking I was fully prepared and fully ready... and then my parents left and I was alone in my dorm. I felt really alone and just wanted to go back home. But then I went to Connections and my instructor immediately greeted me and said, ‘let’s be friends.’ She was one of my first friends and one of my biggest advocates. I’m not sure if I would still be in college without her.”
The Connections course combines in-class learning with out-of-class excursions to become familiar with USU’s campus and community. It is offered in a three-day session pre-semester in the fall, as well as in seven-week versions in both fall and spring semester. Curriculum includes overcoming challenges, time management, planning a degree, inclusion and understanding, navigating USU, and more.
For the 2021fall semester, the pre-semester connections class will be held Aug. 25-27 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., with the Connections Luminary being held on Aug. 27 at 8:30 p.m. The 7-week course will begin Aug. 30, with students meeting twice a week for the first seven weeks of the semester.
For more information on the USU 1010 Connections course and how to enroll, visit www.usu.edu/connections/logan.