Familiarize new children with the block
They are athletes after all, and even though they are new to Colorado State, the competitive spirit is still there. On a hot Thursday afternoon, the student-athletes participating in the Summer Integration Program gathered at the Anderson Academic Center, the starting point for the day’s Amazing Race activity. The SIP is designed by the Student-Athlete Support Services Department for incoming first-year student-athletes to help them acclimate not only to campus, but to all of the programs it has to offer and to the surrounding community.
This marks the return of the program, which essentially took a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. This was done pretty much as best SASS could in 2020, and while there were a few in-person meetings in 2021, neither year was quite the same. There were still places on campus that were closed, and when the masks were finally lowered later in the school year, some reintroductions were required.
It’s no surprise that Kim Mbadinga-Nzamba, who is also Director of Diversity and Inclusion, was in high spirits for the program to come back strong.
“I’m thrilled that we’re doing this again,” she said. “What we’ve been through the last two years with the pandemic and realizing access to what we could do before and having all of that taken away from us and then having moments of realizations of what we can be and what we had … To be at this point now and getting back to face-to-face programming and impacting students in a really meaningful way, I’m very excited.
“The athletic department owns it, so these freshmen really feel comfortable being here. When we had conversations with the students who did it years ago, and they were like, that was cool and they felt comfortable for fall, and that feels good. The end goal is to say that they know where this building is on campus and this resource is here, so I’m not as nervous in the fall. They take a course as part of the program and get to know the community of Fort Collins better. They also get to know the SASS staff.
Last week, SASS brought together male and female athletes from basketball, soccer and volleyball – all on campus training – for a SIP program welcome. They’re taking classes, and whatever class or classes they’re in, part of it is SIP-related so they’re calling getting used to the help they’ll receive academically throughout their academic career, which is more focused on their freshman year. SIP activities are scheduled through mid-July, each designed to expose newcomers to their campus and beyond, introducing them to community outreach through the local Boys and Girls Club and food pantries.
Thursday’s focus was to introduce them to the campus they’ll call home, using cues to get from one point to another, with stops at the Student Rec Center, Lory Student Center, Morgan Library, at the Oval and finishing at Canvas. Stadium.
Divided into teams of four, the seven groups had to answer academic integrity questions to establish a pecking order, with the highest-scoring team getting a timed head start. It didn’t take long for some of them to realize that the scooters outside, or even the bikes they rode at the event, could give them an advantage.
Yet, before getting a clue to move on to the next location, all four had to be at the checkpoint before it was given. They did a crossword puzzle to get a clue at the LSC, and there was a challenge they could accept at the Morgan Library that could give them an edge or set them back.
It was about solving problems and working as a team and some of them found there was no shortcut across the grass from the leisure center to LSC, not with the lagoon in the way. .