URI Holds First-Year Student-Athlete Orientation

Sept. 4, 2007

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KINGSTON, R.I. - On Tuesday, September 4, the University of Rhode Island department of athletics welcomed approximately 150 freshman student-athletes to campus with its fourth-annual First Year Student-Athlete Orientation. The program, which was held in the Ryan Center, is designed to connect newcomers with one another as well as the many resources available at URI.

The program kicked off at 8:30 a.m. with remarks by Dr. Tom Dougan, Vice President of Student Affairs, Thorr Bjorn, Director of Athletics, and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President Ryan McCarthy.

The speakers welcomed the newcomers to campus, encouraged them to take advantage of available resources and challenged them to become involved not only with athletics, but with all areas of campus life.

The first featured speaker was Making it Count representative Jean Fedora, who presented "The Ultimate Road Trip: Campus2Career." The highly interactive program emphasized the importance of: earning good grades in their first year, effectively managing time, forming good working relationships with professors in order to benefit fully from their expertise, developing the characteristics that future graduate schools and employers seek, making an impact through meaningful involvement in clubs and organizations, exploring potential careers through work experience and internships, identifying common first-year mistakes to avoid.

The new student-athletes then participated in a series of breakout sessions designed to expose them to a variety of issues they may encounter in college. Some topics covered were: academics, inclusion, stress management, substance abuse and relationships.

The event wrapped up at approximately 2:00 p.m. following a presentation by Mike Green, a recognized leader in the field of drug and alcohol awareness. Green has spoken on more than 1,000 campuses nationwide and emphasized the importance of making drug and alcohol awareness/education an integral part of a student's life.

"Ram Skills Day welcomes the newest members of the Rhody Ram family and frontloads them with important information relevant to student-athletes during their first year at URI," said Gina Sperry, Coordinator of the Rhody Life Skills Program.

The First Year Student-Athlete Orientation was planned by URI's Life Skills Advisory Team. Twenty-six returning student-athletes assisted with the orientation, serving as peer mentors throughout the day's events.