Freshmen Starting to Make Valuable On-Campus Connections at FreshStart Retreat

“College is a new beginning … This is the time to give everything a chance.”

By Tom Ramstetter
Web Marketing + Communications

The Northern Kentucky Leadership Institute will host a pair of FreshStart retreats during the coming weeks that will allow incoming freshmen to meet new people, learn different ideas, and grow as a person.

Megan Pickett

“The FreshStart retreat says it all in its name — fresh start,” junior marketing major and FreshStart co-chair Megan Pickett says. “College is a fresh start for everyone. Therefore, we give the freshman experience a kick start.”

Even before the fall semester begins, new students will have a chance to build friendships and connections that will likely last throughout their time at Northern.

The retreat features a session for both commuter students (July 31 - Aug. 1) and one for residential students (Aug. 14 - 16).

Matt Werner

“This retreat will place you in a small group of students with eight or less in each group, led by some of our already established student leaders and will allow you to build a tight bond with the students in your group,” co-chair and senior management major Matt Werner says.

Megan will be one of the leaders of the commuter retreat.

“That means an early two days, overnight on campus accompanied with a service project,” Megan says. “Here the 40 or so freshmen selected will have a head start to making friends and networking with current Norse Leadership Society and NKLI members.”

“Although NKU is growing by the minute, our university still has students who are just ‘parking lot’ students. That means they just show up for class then head back to their car. For this reason, the commuter retreat differs because there is a greater need to excite these freshmen to join organizations and get involved with campus life!”

The residential retreat will kick off two days before freshmen start moving in.

“The residential program builds an early connection for students on campus with the University Housing staff including residential assistants, peer mentors, Director of University Housing Arnie Slaughter, and many more,” Matt says. “It also introduces students to the resources available to an on-campus student and the community’s you can build. We also allow our students time to customize their rooms as they will move in to their room assignment early.”

The hope is that new students begin to take advantage of their opportunities.

“College is a new beginning,” Megan says. “This is the time to give everything a chance. Personally, when I was in high school, everyone was very narrow minded and never branched out of their comfort zones. Here at NKU, everyone is pushing you to leave your comfort zone behind!”

Neither Megan nor Matt was able to take part in the FreshStart retreats as freshmen when they arrived from their hometown of Rising Sun, Indiana. But each began enjoying the leadership opportunities on campus early. Helping to lead these retreats is just one of those opportunities.

“Being a part of NLS is such an honor,” Megan says. “This organization gives students so many avenues when it comes to leadership. This summer is has definitely been a blessing for me. After being an orientation leader last year, I felt myself feeling nostalgic as the summer approached. So when the FreshStart leader position became available I jumped right into it!”

Matt was not going to let of his last chances to lead at NKU go by.

“Going into my final semester at NKU, I knew I’d have one more chance to share my leadership knowledge and my personal experiences with such a big group of students and FreshStart would be it,” Matt says. “I have seen how much this program has grown. From it being just an experiment my freshman year to it now being the best freshman leadership retreat on campus, I knew I’d have to get involved to see what all the excitement was about.

“NKU is full of opportunities to grow into a better leader, student, and person in general. You have to be willing to step up to the occasion, though. Sign up for as many retreats as possible, get to meeting new people here, and the doors will quickly open to opportunities you could have only dreamed of. We will make this retreat awesome for you if you are willing to step up and try something new!”