ON-AIR: Class aimed at helping freshmen adjust gets mixed reviews

By Karis Morrall

Imagine earning a credit hour for visiting the library, playing four-square and participating in a campus resources scavenger hunt. Students in LAS 100 participate in group activities designed to introduce them to a new life on campus.

Learning Communities Program Coordinator Christine Hammer says the class helps acclimate freshman to college life.

“The purpose of LAS 100 is to take a group of first semester students from a gen-ed class, and we take them into small groups and the meet to encourage them to form study groups, get to know each other, and make a big class smaller. But also our curriculum is designed to introduce them to the university and transition them from high school to college.”

LAS 100 groups meet once a week and are led by junior and senior honors students who serve as peer mentors. But are students receiving their money’s worth in the course? Liberal Arts and Sciences freshman Eric Dooley says the class is too easy.

“One time we took a trip to the library — it was a little field trip. We walked by and I saw one of my friends in another class. I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’ She was playing four-square outside. She was like, ‘Oh, it’s for my LAS 100 class.'”

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Assignments include attending two cultural events and writing a one-page group paper for each activity. During a literacy enrichment activity, students photocopied title pages of five library books related to their larger general education course.

Dooley says LAS 100 is not what he anticipated.

“When I first signed up for the class, I was actually expecting it was going to teach me about the university and help prepare me as a freshman for the things I would expect coming to a new place I’d never visited or lived before — and living by myself for the first time. But what I realize is that it didn’t help me at all. Everything that I did gain knowledge about came from first-hand experience.”

However, Liberal Arts and Sciences freshman Sarah Smith says she is glad she took LAS 100.

“I think it was helpful in learning about resources on campus and places you can go get information about specific majors. I liked it — I think it helped.”

Hammer says students in LAS 100 will be able to voice their opinions at the end of the semester by filling out evaluation sheets.