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Lander University Creates New Program to Enhance Freshmen Experience

Lander University student liaisons Olivia Veidt (left), of Wilmington, Ohio, and Marielle Fallon, of Woodruff, pose with chalkboard introductions on the University’s plaza. “So far, this has been a great experience,” said Veidt. “I feel extremely connected to so many people on campus.” Photo by Laura B. Wood.

Lander University has recently launched a new initiative entitled the Student Liaison Program intended to enhance the experience of first-year Bearcats.

“For this program to be successful, it is crucial to connect with all freshmen,” said Dr. Amanda Darden, vice president for Student Experience and Quality Assurance. “This means connecting with the LINK classes, resident assistants in buildings where freshmen live, freshmen who live off campus and answering questions that all students have regularly.”

The connection comes in the form of the Student Liaisons themselves, who are upperclassmen at the University. They do this through providing resources, activities and any tips for success that they can share. “We want to provide first-time freshmen opportunities to engage with upperclassmen to connect with both the University and its student body early in their academic path to enhance their student experience,” said Darden.

The Liaisons are able to connect through social events like a caramel apple social in the Grier Student Center Dining Hall and meet and greets around campus with free snacks and Lander gear. “So far, this has been a great experience,” said Student Liaison Olivia Veidt, of Wilmington, Ohio. “I feel extremely connected to so many people on campus.”

“The goal for the Fall 2022 semester is to see a 90% or above persistence rate of first-time freshmen,” said Darden, meaning that “90% or above of the Fall 2022 freshman class will be returning for the Spring 2023 semester.” The University will eventually develop a new outline for the program in 2023 after reviewing and critiquing the program’s structure for the Fall of 2022.