Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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FAM Program Prepares Welcome Events

New semester jitters can be eliminated with the help of the Friends at Marshall, says the FAM coordinator and graduate assistant for student success.

“We’re really just a powerhouse committed to helping them if they need anything and constantly reassuring them that they’re going to be alright, but if they ever need to talk or go out to lunch or go get a drink at Starbucks, we’re here for them,” said Gabby Casey, three-year peer mentor with FAM.

Since the mentors are also students, they understand the anxiety that comes at the start of the semester and can use their experiences to assist other students, Casey said.

Christian Morrow, a senior and second-year FAM, said the main priority for mentors during this time is to make students feel welcomed back and to concentrate on how they are doing now.

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“We’re focused on right now, and, if a student has any issues, it’s about doing what we always do, which is trying to get them to the right resources and help them out the best we can,” Morrow said. These resources range from assisting students with finding their books to getting them in contact with the Counseling Center.

Both Morrow and Casey stressed the importance for the mentors to create a personal, one-on-one connection with their assigned students, which they will have the opportunity to do this week. 

The Meet Your FAM event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18, and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19, in the lobby of East Hall.

The event is open to new freshmen and transfer students and is a time to remind students that, “There’s someone who has their back on campus,” Casey said. The mentors will be in attendance to offer their students goodie bags and Marshall swag, including a pin students can only get from their FAM. 

The pin, depicting two bison, symbolizes the relationship between the mentors and their students, reminding students that they are “never alone,” according to Casey.

Students will have the opportunity to get to know their mentors at different events throughout the semester, including FAM’s annual Squishmallow Bingo; however, students can reach out to their FAM at their own convenience.

“College is about making connections. It’s about meeting people. It’s about building relationships that will last you a lifetime,” Morrow said. He explained that the majority of the mentors can be contacted at any time and are “just happy to get a response” to their “blast” texts and emails.

“We’re not robots – a lot of people think that we’re robots because our messages look automated, but I promise there are 35 different people behind those emails and text messages,” Casey added.

The Friends at Marshall program consists of 35 peer mentors, including students from the LGBTQ+ community, neurodivergent students and students with children, who are trained to assist freshmen, sophomores and transfer students. 

Both Casey and Morrow agreed that not all students are going to need their FAM, but they encourage them to reach out if they do. Students can contact their mentors via email, text or in-person during office hours. 

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