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Welcome to your Nest, Class of 2025 Faculty, Staff and Amigos welcome the new Screagle families to campus during Summer Open House days

More than 830 freshman Screagles and their families had the opportunity to visit campus during a series of open houses occurring the months of June and July. Carmen Stoen, Director of New Student and Traditional Programs reported meeting students from as far away as California. For most of these students, it was their first tangible experience coming to campus. While here, they were able to complete registration, take placement tests, have their first advising session, check on financial aid, get their student ID, view campus housing and take a few selfies.

  • In addition to the 830 students, 600 family members registered and attended the Open House sessions
  • 1,419 meals were ordered for families who opted to eat on campus
  • $600 in free flex money was given away to students
  • 547 white USI T-shirts were tie-dyed by students and family members
  • 80 people were walks-in for the Open House
  • 40 students registered for advising
  • 34 departments participated in the Resource Fair
  • A 21% discount was given to each new Screagle for one item in the Campus Store
  • 20 hours of training were completed for each Amigo member
  • 8 hours of work was completed by each Amigo on each of the Open Houses

Mother-daughter duo Bonnie and Christine Kurz (left) came to USI by way of Indianapolis. The Kurtz family has made the trip to USI many times—Christine's older siblings also attended the University. "USI is just a good fit for us," said Bonnie. Christine, who will be majoring in accounting, looks forward to acclimating into USI's esteemed Romain College of Business.

Emily Armstrong (above) of Corydon, Indiana, works as a certified nursing assistant in a nursing home. As a newly declared Health Services major, she's certain experience as a CNA and a degree will mold her into a compassionate nursing home administrator. She's also planning to run in cross country and track.
Families arrived in three waves at USI's Open Houses, navigating their way to the Campus Store and Carter Hall to get their student IDs.
Thirty Amigos guided new Screagles through the Open House sessions. They dispensed advice from what clubs to join (something outside their comfort zone, something outside a chosen major and something fun) to showing them where their classes were located. Some of the most common questions new students asked Amigos were "Where do I get my student ID?" and "Where do I get my books?"

During their day on campus, students learned everything from money management skills to the required vaccinations to attend USI. They received punch cards for the Resource Fair, which were punched at each table they visited. At the end of the day, the punched cards were put in a drawing to receive $50 in FLEX Money. In total, $150 in FLEX Money was given away during each Open House. Along the way, the new Screagles picked up some cool USI swag, including backpacks (courtesy of Public Safety), candy (Religious Life) and every conceivable item in between.

Amigos punch cards and hand out information about the new student programs being offered at the New Students and Traditional Programs table.
University Honors gave away plastic cups to students at their informational table.
Collecting pens and highlighters from Rice Library.

Dan Craig worked hard recruiting students for the USI Music Program. While many of his new students opted to audition via Zoom, many more were happy to audition in person. Over half of the new students joining the music ensembles this fall will do so by auditioning at an Open House.

A new student auditions as an alto for the Women's Choir.

The Multicultural Center participated in the Resource Fair to reach out to the diverse students and families coming to USI. MCC supports 13 student organizations and hosts a multitude of diverse programming at the University, from a homework help desk to the Cultural Diversity Welcome Reception for students when they move onto campus.

Program Advisor Cesar Berrios tells one of MCC's Multicultural Leadership Scholars how a former student started a Latina sorority while at USI.

Faculty from World Languages and Cultures met students and parents during the Resource Fair as well, passing out information on the many languages taught at USI.

Sydney Mitchell '21 is an alumnus of the 21st Century Scholarship Program. She is the Americorp advisor who helps other USI 21st Century Screagles successfully navigate life as a college student. "The typical questions and concerns I get from scholars are about the amount of money they will have to pay out of pocket. The students who have this scholarship would have likely not been able to attend college had they not received it. Parents and students often want to make sure that whatever out-of-pocket costs come up can be paid because they might struggle to pay the amount. I was that way," she says. During the 2020-2021 school year, approximately 600 students were 21st Century Scholars.

Stephanie Fifer guided students on the importance of making an internship part of a successful college career. Students who have internship experiences are more likely to get a job in their field of study upon graduation.

John Perkins talks to psychology majors about the types of internships they might have while at the University.

Aaron Pryor, Director of TRIO: Student Support Services, told first generation students the importance of finding community and services to help them succeed. Fifty students were accepted into the 2021-2022 cohort. "TRIO programs serve students who are either first-generation, come from income eligible households or who are differently abled. I myself, as a former first generation college student from a low-income household, understand what it feels like to approach school with little more than the notion I should be there, without understanding how to be there. Our program exists to help take the guess work out of the equation and help students navigate the intricate systems of higher education," said Pryor.

Students and families navigate their way through the Resource Fair, which was located on both floors of the University Center.

Hosted by Activities Programming Board and Fraternity and Sorority Life, families were able to enjoy lawn games and tie-dying shirts. Nathan Payne, Program Coordinator in, Center for Campus Life said the free T-shirts were a way to provide incoming students a fun takeaway from the Open House, a way to meet other Screagles and give them one of their very first pieces of USI gear to wear in the Fall Semester.

Yusuf Osman, (left) of Newburgh attended an Open House with his father and sister. Tie dying shirts was an unexpected fun thing to do after a busy day. The Castle High School graduate is planning to study civil engineering.

Lilly Hubbard (above) of Henderson checked out other schools in Kentucky, but thought the size and opportunities afforded at USI were just right. Right now Lilly is enjoying the options open to her as an undeclared major.
Even the least artistic students walked away with a fun tie-dye sprayed USI shirt. It will be a very colorful fall when these new Screagles cross The Quad on their way to class.
Sophomore Amigo Ellie Naylor (left) attended an online orientation in 2020. Junior Amigo Hayden Martin attended a traditional in-person orientation in Fall 2019.

Ellie, a business administration major, praised USI for its efficient pivot to online/hybrid teaching. "I had a hybrid history class I loved. As a high school student, I didn't like history classes at all. But the instructor was so engaging. I sent him an email after the class telling him how much I enjoyed the class." Hayden, a biology major said that the online version of orientation last year hit all the major points and was informative, but it missed that human touch that she got to experience as a freshman. She was glad to meet incoming students and freshman this July. "I think the students were thankful to be here on campus," she said. "It's been fun."

Created By
Barbara Goodwin
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Barbara J. Goodwin USI Photography and Multimedia