Campus Celebrity: Cereise Ross and Sophie Yelle

Names and Programs:

Cereise Ross: 4th year Communication

Sophie Yelle: 3rd year Communication

Initiative:

Experience Communication Expérience Program

What We Do:

Experience Communication Expérience Program is the first Faculty of Arts program to actively encourage 1st year engagement throughout the semester. During the first few weeks of school, 1st years tend to get lost in the chaos of school work, new friends and new opportunities. While 101 week encourages 1st years to get involved with the Communication Student Association, nothing existed, prior to our program, to actively engage them throughout the whole year.

To facilitate a positive experience for first students we sought the involvement of 4th year Communication and Public Relations. These “4th Year Buddies” have been reaching out to students on social media, in person and via email. These students offer their own personal experience within their program and promote events and opportunities that would of interest to first year students, as well as respond to questions – whether big or small—from their first years.

What Cereise and Sophie Do:

Both Cereise and Sophie designed and put into place the program. They received credit for their work through the Communication Department’s Internship program (it counts as a third year elective!) In their role as coordinators, they designed the orientation day activities, communicated with first year students, interviewed, selected and trained 4th year Buddies and facilitated communication between the 4th year and 1st year students. In essence, they got the ball rolling for this project.

Has It Been Successful?

The first event of the year had a turnout rate of 60% of first year students. This is significantly up from last year’s turnout of less than 10% of 1st year students!

What About Future Events?

Later this month, Experience Communications Expérience Program will be supporting the Communication Student Association, University Affairs department’s annual Wine & Cheese where students can talk with professors, begin strengthening connections for the future and of course, enjoy the cheese! This way, students will feel welcome into the Communication Department and engaged and enthused about their program!

Where Do You See The Program Going In The Future?

Next year we hope that those that take over the program will be able to further increase the turnout rate, and further engage students. We both want students to feel like the Communication Department is there for them, so they can look back on their 1st year of university and realize there were services and programs that reached out to them and created a sense of community.

Are you a 1st year communications or PR students? Or do you want to get involved as Buddy? Check out the Communication Expérience Communication website for more information.

Here’s what Past Participants of the Program had to Say:

"I really enjoyed the welcome day. It is such a great idea because you have someone there to answer all your questions you have when you first come to university."

"More icebreakers and maybe a couple of activities besides that it was a really informative and interesting. Furthermore, my mentor was awesome. "

"En tout cas, je suis très contente d'avoir participé à la journée. Je me suis fait des amis qui font partie mon programme. Maintenant je connaît plein de gens dans mes cours."

Photo Credits:

The portrait of Sophie Yelle and Cereise Ross - By Julia Riddle

All other photos by Cereise Ross.