Aug 132007
Authors: Nikki Cristello

Far from home without the security of friends and family? Fear no more, the Ram Connections Mentoring Program is here to the rescue.

The program, started in 2005, has grown and successfully reached more first-year students with each passing year. It helps new CSU students get acclimated to the university, while making connections with peers and staff.

“We want students to know the transition (to college) does not end after orientation or Ram Welcome,” aid Keith Lopez Coordinator for Transition Programs at CSU.

Ram Connections is a non-credit experience that brings students with common interests together. It is a first semester program that starts the second week of classes.

Universities across the country are realizing the importance of connecting to first year students and to assisting them with the transition to college, Lopez said.

Every new student had the opportunity to fill out the two page plan for success during Preview. Each first year gets an email on how to join the connections program. The plan for success allows them to look back on their successes in high school and which skills to work on during college.

There are different groups to cater to various interests. An outdoor group for those who like the fresh air, an interior design course for those wishing to enter the major, a student media group and more.

Ray Aberle, assistant director of campus recreation, is the professional mentor of the outdoor adventure group. He said he mentors because it allows him to connect with students longer than he usually gets to.

“If you’re in love with the mountains, or are passionate about the outdoors, this group is really fun,” Aberle said.

Holly Wolcott, advisor for the Collegian, is the professional mentor for the student media group. But the group doesn’t just focus on journalism and media. Wolcott shows students some of the essentials to being a college student, and helps to acclimate them to campus. For instance, how to ride the bus and use the Transfort center located in the lower level of the Lory Student Center.

“This group is specifically for journalists because it allows them to get better acquainted with what is available on campus,” Wolcott said. “It also helps them become comfortable as reporters.”

Students interested in working for the Collegian, CTV or KCSU should sign up for the group.

Lopez said his goal for the program is to give students a chance to become involved and engaged outside the classroom. This, he said, tends to help them excel inside the classroom.

“We’re being proactive in reaching out to students,” Lopez said.

Break Out Box:

Registration began August 1, but will be available during Ram Welcome.

To register, go to and click “Ram Connections Mentoring Program.

First Year Mentoring Program Groups Include:

African American Men

African American Women

Adult Learner Students

Apparel and Merchandising Students

Asian/ Pacific Islander American Students

Career and Major Exploration

Community Service

Creative Abilities: Students with Disabilities

Daniel’s Fund Scholars

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Students

Environmental Issues/ Sustainability

First Generation College Students

First Year Students Living at Home

Health & Wellness

Outdoor Adventure

Out of State Students

Interior Design

International Interests

Latino/a Students


Students Interested in Music & the Arts

Students Interested in Public Relations & Event Planning

Running & Bicycling

Science in a Globalized/Diverse World

Student Involvement

Student Media

Students Interested in Human Health Professions

Students Interested in Fraternity & Sorority Life

Student Interested in Veterinary Medicine

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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