Friend at Marshall program welcomes, assists freshmen students

Freshmen celebrated the debut of a new program introduced this semester at Marshall during a gathering Friday, Aug. 30 at the Student Center Plaza. The Friend at Marshall Program, or F.A.M., aims to help with freshmen retention by providing first-year students with mentors. 

The event was designed to be a laid-back, welcoming environment for all.  The event was open to all freshmen and was complete with music, beach balls and ice cream. The first-year students even received a free lapel pin from their mentors, featuring the F.A.M.’s logo.

 “Today the freshmen get to come out and meet their mentor, and we have these nice little pins for them,” F.A.M. mentor Mary Erwin said. “This event is really just a chance for us to introduce ourselves to our students and let them know that we are here for them if they need anything.”

This program has been put into place by the Admissions Office and its main goal is to increase freshmen retention. Statistics show it is common for universities across the state to see a great number of first-year students not return to campus for their sophomore year, and that is why Marshall is implementing this new program. The F.A.M. program has 19 mentors who are assigned freshmen students to mentor for their first year at Marshall. Their main job is to keep in contact with the students all year long and make them feel as at home as possible. 

“Our goal is to be there for the freshmen and be someone that is there for them and cares about them, just so they can know they are welcomed at Marshall.” F.A.M. mentor Brennan Amaral said. “A lot of them come from far away, so they might not really know anyone. This program can kind of get them a foot-in-the-door and help them branch out and make connections with people.”

Each freshman is randomly assigned to a F.A.M. mentor when they enroll at Marshall University, and it is completely up to them whether or not they decide to take part in the program and meet their mentor.  

The F.A.M. mentors serve as a connection to all other services and resources on campus and are willing to go above and beyond to make their freshmen student feel as welcomed as possible during their first year.  

“We really just want to be their friend here at Marshall.  We are just here for them whenever they need anything, before they find their group of people and find what they want to get into,” Erwin said. “We serve as a steppingstone for them before they find their close-knit group of people that are interested in the same things they are.” 

“We also want them to get involved,” Amaral said. “We can go to events with them if they feel uncomfortable going by themselves. If they want to join a club or organization, we are all more than willing to go to their first meeting with them.” 

Julianna Everly can be contacted at [email protected]