By Ian Frantz
Youngstown State University is preparing for an event that aims to help students entering their first semester this upcoming summer called the Summer Bridge program.
The Summer Bridge program is a free, week-long event that provides multicultural students who recently graduated high school and are planning to go to YSU an opportunity to stay on campus and learn how to prepare themselves for the academic and social experiences most often encountered by first-year students, as described by the YSU website.
YSU’s Office of College Access and Transition is in the interviewing and recruiting phase for the Summer Bridge program which will be held at Cafaro House toward the end of July.
According to Michael Beverly, assistant director of OCAT and a senior academic coach for the Center for Student Progress, the program started in the 1980s and has moved departments since then but the goal remains the same.
“Even though the program has been moved around, the goal is to help raise and maintaining a high retention and graduation rate for minorities,” Beverly said.
Beverly said that the program helps these first-year students address how to study for tests, take notes and learn time management.
“We will provide writing professors, tours and workshops to help teach the students and then we will meet with them at the CSP during the fall semester to help ensure the skills stick with them,” Beverly explained.
Olivia Cupp, associate director of housing, said the coordination of making sure Carfaro House is ready for the Summer Bridge program is underway.
“I am in the middle of finalizing reservation details with all of the groups that we host and once our academic year students move out of our facilities, we’ll have a cleaning company and maintenance crew go through Housing to clean and address maintenance issues,” Cupp said.
Cupp also mentioned that they will have two groups of summer resident assistants who reside in Cafaro House as well as summer camps coordinators.
“Both these groups will be comprised of students responsible for communicating and checking in with our groups during their stay,” Cupp said.
Karla Krodel, senior director of OCAT, said there are challenges of running this program from both the students and the university.
“While we would like to help as many students as possible, we only have a budget to help 40 students,” Krodel said. “If we could get more funding, we could help a lot more students who face stress from home, may be a first-generation student or come from a low-income family.”
Even with the challenges, Krodel said the Summer Bridge program has managed to prove useful to those who use it.
According to statistics provided by OCAT, 84 percent of students from the Summer Bridge program 2017 finished their first semester in good academic standing, and 92 percent of students who attended fall semester returned for spring semester.
The program is acknowledged for its potential in helping with retention and graduation rates for minorities by YSU President Jim Tressel, the Department of Education’s list of Promising and Practical Strategies to Increase Post-Secondary Success and as well as the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.