Student activities are adapting to the health restrictions and guidelines to have first-year activities return closer to normalcy this fall, including Frogs First.
Frogs First, a week-long welcome experience for incoming students in the fall, consists of in-depth conversations between students, faculty and staff during the Common Reading Program as well as other social activities within the campus community.
“Its purpose is to get the students acclimated to the campus community that they have now joined,” said Tara McWhorter, director of first-year experience.
It differs from freshman orientation and Frog Camp because students are moving onto campus during this event.
New health guidelines are making it a different experience than usual.
“We are still looking at some key traditional events, such as the Chancellor’s Assembly where we welcome incoming students, but also thinking about what are some new things we can bring into play,” said McWhorter.
Plans for students to socially distance and wear their masks are still in place as of publication.
Usually, students are put in a large group during Frogs First, but the directors of Frogs First are looking into making the groups smaller.
“The University Policy has been that if you are indoors, it’s 20 people per classroom or group when we’ve held Frog Camp or Orientation, but we know that can be even smaller for outside,” said McWhorter.
They will continue working with emergency management to navigate the procedure of those small groups.
Common reading program to continue as centerpiece of program
One aspect of Frogs First that will not change is the common reading program.
“The common reading program is an opportunity to select a book that ranges from race and inclusion, social justice, resistance, self-care or what is relevant in this current year for us to bring to the forth front with our students,” said McWhorter.
They select a book for students to read and write about in an essay.
During Frogs First, the small groups will meet with faculty and staff to discuss why the selected book was relevant and how it may connect to their college experience.
“This year we have selected the book called “March”, a trilogy series by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin,” said McWhorter.
“March”, which was a unanimous selection by the common reading committee, shows the timeline of John Lewis’s experience in the Civil Rights Movement.
“This year with the pandemic still in effect, things are ever-changing but I feel like we have a better grasp of how to navigate through Frogs First this year,” said McWhorter.
Frogs First will take place Aug. 18 through Aug 22.