The School of General Studies as well as its General Education Mentors (GEMs) welcomed back the freshman class with a Valentine's Day Themed Social in the Cougar's Den Thursday, Feb. 7. Students enjoyed complimentary food and drinks, coloring, games and more. The purpose of this event was to keep freshmen involved on campus throughout their second semester.
Every freshman and transfer student is required to take a Transition to Kean (T2K) course which aids students in many ways which includes getting acquainted to the university, building one's resume, community service, getting involved on campus and more. Along with this course, students receive a General Education Mentor (GEM), who is a student who works for the School of General Studies and helps them with their transition into college life and acts as a teacher's assistant.
The GEMs hosted this event to welcome back their first year students. Even though the T2K course lasts for only one semester, freshmen still keep their GEMs for their entire first year just in case they still have questions or still need assistance in terms of adjusting to college.
GEM Kathleen Conaty said, "It’s like a way for us to check back in with them in the spring semester. What we like to say is that we’re still their GEM in the spring semester, so we’re still with them to help them with any problems for the whole year. It doesn’t just stop in the fall. We try to make sure that their whole first year goes as smoothly as possible.”
At the event, students could participate in several activities. The event had a coloring station filled with Valentine's Day themed pictures, giant Connect Four, card games, guess the candy, and raffles. There were also pizza and chocolate-covered strawberries.
When asked about the event, freshman Molly Pair said, “I’m excited just because I like being out with everybody and just like seeing all of the freshmen. It’s just like friendly faces.”
The GEMs are very helpful to students throughout their transition to Kean, and they showed it through this event. In regard to having a GEM, freshman Anna Ferster said, "She just talked about opportunities and jobs I can do, because I was looking to get a job on campus. She was just generally really helpful."
The Valentine's Day Welcome Back Social was a great event to get students interacting with their peers and building more of a community here at Kean.