A group of 32 incoming freshmen got an early start this summer in the new UTC Summer Bridge Program, where they took the initiative to take steps towards academic achievement, experience extracurricular activities and develop leadership skills.
For four weeks, the students attended math, English, and first year studies experience classes.
“It’s an early opportunity for college success,” explained Dr. Beth Crawford, Summer Bridge faculty director. “They connected with community partners, took field trips and performed generous acts of community service.
We will be tracking these students for retention and persistence to graduation.”
Students from the Bridge Program were invited to live as a cohort in Stagmaier Dormitory and enjoy meals on campus. They attended an ice cream social and met faculty members in an informal setting.
In addition to academic enhancement, the Bridge Program introduced the students to the University’s community partners.
At the Creative Discovery Museum, students were invited to a science session and a private tour of this downtown attraction. They learned there are many UTC alumni employed at the Creative Discovery Museum.
Three community service projects were completed by the students, who were divided into three groups to tackle different tasks. One group assisted the Chattanooga Parks Department by helping to clean the Citizen’s Cemetery located across East Fifth St.; another cleaned the gardens at the Ronald McDonald House near campus on East Third St.; and another group painted food collection barrels at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.
Participants enjoyed some lively activities on and off campus. UTC Housing arranged for them to learn salsa dancing. UTC Outdoors took the group for a rafting trip on the Ocoee River—“everyone loved it.” Dr. Crawford said.
When the students in the Bridge Program arrive for fall 2014 classes, their first math and English classes will be completed.