First Year Connect
WE SEE A NEED.
The sociopolitical divisions that we witness across the United States today are reflected on college campuses nationwide, and incoming students quickly become entrenched in silos that reinforce battleground mentalities.
WE HAVE THE SOLUTION.
After honing the design of our programming model and technology for nearly two decades, we recognize that our approach to exchange with and across difference can be applied at the local level, producing incoming classes of students who are more cohesive across dividing lines.
THE SOLUTION IS FIRST YEAR CONNECT (1YC).
We will launch pilot programs in the 2020-2021 academic year with the incoming first year classes at a state university and a liberal arts college.
A mandatory part of the orientation process, 1YC is a structured space for students to discuss differences in a way that builds trust and respect, establishes habits of constructive discourse, and prepares them to reinforce those norms during times of on-campus tension.
IF IT'S NOT BROKEN, THEN DON'T FIX IT.
That old saying applies here. We are using the core features of our signature Connect Program that has successfully engaged over 17,000 young people globally to date and had an impact on over 35,000 and counting.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?
Sustained, synchronous dialogue sessions, with groups meeting 2 hours a week for 4 weeks.
Digital roundtable discussions using our Exchange Portal developed for best practices in this field.
Diverse groups of 10 each assembled with attention to a balance of backgrounds and life experieces.
Facilitators trained to be multi-partial and recruited from a pool of external and on-campus talents.
Expanded awareness that comes from not just speaking but also listening.
We want students to have a thoughtful, positive start to the college experience, one that builds a culture of trust and respect. In doing so, we anticipate that participants will be empowered with 21st Century Skills necessary for a lifetime of success in and out of the classroom.
Cross-Cultural Communication and Collaboration
- Collaborate with alternative perspectives to craft sustainable solutions to shared problems.
- Develop the ability to represent one’s points of view and provide space for hearing the points of view of multiple and diverse parties in a productive discussion process.
Empathy: Appreciating and Respecting Others
- Approach dialogue and differences with an intention for understanding.
- Develop positive relationships that acknowledge each other's emotions and humanity.
Critical Thinking and Awareness
- Analyze one's own pre-existing opinions and beliefs in an incubator for transformation.
- Examine the emotions, assumptions, values, biases, social norms, and experiences that inform perspectives.
Community Building and Civic Engagement
- Contribute to a campus community where differences in identity and opinion can be sources of possibility, not separation.
- Cooperate and collaborate across campuses, throughout wider communities, and on social media platforms.