College Introduces Second Year Experience Program

Albion College Freshmen enjoying a barbecue as a part of FYE. Hopefully, SYE will lead to more experiences like this (Photo courtesy of Hannah Woods).

In the last few years, Albion College has begun a new initiative aimed at reconnecting students and helping them to come to grips with their own college identity. This initiative, known as the Second Year Experience (SYE) is geared toward sophomores As sophomore year becomes more challenging, SYE aims to bridge campus connections by providing a close community for sophomores to live together. Additionally, the initiative includes specially designed programs that will cater to the development of second year students. 

In the fall, SYE will be housed in Mitchell Towers. Albion College Alumna Clare Russell (‘17), who was employed by the College in January, will be the director of the program. 

“SYE will be a more identifiable program where sophomores are able to engage in social and academic programs that are beneficial for building community and understanding one’s self within that community,” said Russell. “[It will be] a place where students will be able to build their resumes; know how to create a budget and keep a budget; learn how to find apartments for their summer internships; build peer connections with those they may not have been able to meet during their first year; and a place where fun has ownership.”

Although the primary location for SYE will be Mitchell Towers, Russell intends to expand programming and publicize events to all second year students so that the benefits encompass all sophomores in the Albion Community. She is interested to know what ways she can improve communication with students and engage them so sophomores are aware of what is available to them and how they can continue to connect with their peers and residential life. 

Alyvia Martinez, a first-year from Waterford, said that, as she reflects back on this year in anticipation for next year, she is proud of all that she managed to do despite the challenges caused by the pandemic.  

“The best part of this year was being a part of the swim team,” said Martinez. I’m really proud of all we accomplished this year despite COVID-19.”

Martinez said that she plans to live at Mitchell Towers for SYE and said that she is looking forward to having her own bathroom in the suite-style rooms.

Rachel Goike, a first-year from Oxford, and Bianca Chavez, a first year from Dallas, are planning on living together at Mitchell Towers for SYE. The two met during FYE and said that they are excited to continue building their friendship.

“I look forward to my future living situation,” Goike said. “Next year, I’ll be in a suite with friends I made this year.”

Despite some of the positives that come alongside sophomore year, like having a personal bathroom and living with new friends, the second year of college presents challenges as well. It is these challenges that SYE hopes to help students combat.

As a former Albion student, Clare Russell is well aware of the challenges brought by sophomore year. 

“Relationships become more difficult to maintain and for some reason classes start to become increasingly more difficult,” said Russell. “SYE, in an ideal world – in my ideal world – becomes a place where we can talk about how to overcome some of these difficulties and sustain relationships during the second year of college. SYE needs to be a continuous program that celebrates sophomores on our campus.”

About Shannon Barba 22 Articles
Shannon Barba is a sophomore from Marshall, Michigan, currently double majoring in physics and computer science. After Albion, he hopes to attend graduate school at MIT. In addition to being Co-Marketing Coordinator for the Pleiad, Barba is the Engagements Chair of Student Senate, participant in the Prentiss M. Brown Honors program, member of the Student Volunteer Bureau, mentor for first-year students, pianist for Albion's Jazz Band, representative for the Committee of Student Learning, mentor for Harrington Elementary School, and a member of the Biochemistry Club.

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