USU summer programs in full swing

It’s summer time and many students have left Utah State University’s campus, but not Lauren Falter.Originally from Washington, Falter will be staying in Utah this summer to work toward gaining residency. She will work for the university, helping to plan and carry out many summer programs.Falter is like many other USU students who work for the summer programs at USU. While it may be easy to assume that campus goes quiet when the traditional college students leave, summer programs will host tens of thousands of people on the USU campus this year.

<strong>SOAR</strong>

From June to August, incoming USU freshmen visit campus for Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR). Required for new students, SOAR gives freshmen the opportunity to meet with student mentors, build friendships with other incoming students and get acquainted with the university without the stress of the new school year.Most SOAR events are single day activities, but there are other options. Outdoor SOAR takes students to Bear Lake for a few days before visiting campus. There is also an overnight SOAR option, where students stay in on campus housing for a night.From workshops to activities, students are familiarized with the campus’ layout and get a chance to register for their first semester of classes with the help of advisers and student mentors.

<strong>Summer semester</strong>

Then there are the students who power through the summer months toward their degrees.While the majority of students leave campus for summer, a portion of them stay to take summer classes. From May 16 to August 5, summer students have the option of taking 4-week or 8-week courses, on campus or online.

<strong>Biotechnology Summer Academy</strong>

The Biotechnology Summer Academy is in its 11th year of hosting high school students. Mostly, the students come from schools in or near Utah, but the program’s director Afifa Sabir said students have come from as far as China to participate.Students hear lectures and participate in hands-on projects in the Biotechnology Center on campus during the week-long program. Faculty members mentor and work alongside program participants.Not just any student can come to the program. Students must fill out an application, provide their school transcripts and a letter of recommendation from a teacher and write a short personal essay detailing why the student is interested in the program. The students who are chosen get good grades, Sabir said, and the program encourages minorities to apply.Students who don’t commute daily sleep in the on-campus dorms during their stay and spend most of their time in the Biotechnology Center. The program costs participants $200, which is small compared to the $1,000 the center puts up for each participant. Last year, 36 high school students participated.The Advanced Biotechnology Summer Academy is in its seventh year, Sabir said. With an average of six students per year, the advanced program is for students who took the regular academy and wanted to come back another year.Besides immersing students into the sciences, Sabir said the programs prepare students for college by teaching them researching skills and how to present information using PowerPoint.

<strong>LDS youth conferences</strong>

Tyler Johnson’s father came to USU for a youth conference when he was 14 years old. Years later, Johnson is the USU Youth Conference program director, planning and scheduling conferences for Latter-day Saint youth.USU provides a two-day or three-day option for youth conferences. Program designers plan a dance, movie night, Aggie games, formal banquet and leave time for the LDS stake coordinators to do their own lectures and workshops.Visiting groups, who mainly come from Weber, Davis and Salt Lake counties, stay overnight in the residential halls.Youth conference participants are 14-18 years in age. The LDS stake is charged $106 per participant for a three-day program or $75 for a two-day program. The program is good for recruiting possible students, and Johnson said if a stake asks for it, his staff can do a workshop about the university and higher education.

<strong>Especially for Youth</strong>

Braden Green, a student at USU, is currently working his fourth summer with the Especially for Youth (EFY) at Utah State, a week-long camp for LDS youth ages 14-18. He has worked as a counselor and a coordinator.Green said, “Being a religious camp, I help (camp participants) realize that they can live the standards they’ve been taught been still have fun. You don’t have to be boring and a stick in the mud to live the standards of the church.”EFY hosts multiple sessions at universities across the nation, including USU. LDS youth come from all over to participate in EFY at USU, bringing 800 participants to the campus. From workshops to game nights, participants meet others of their faith during the week-long program, learn from college-aged mentors and participate in many activities.Utah State will also begin hosting Adventure for Youth, an outdoor adventure program based on EFY that was started at Brigham Young University-Idaho. The pilot program at USU will have around 50 participants this year.

<strong>Sports camps</strong>

USU hosts a few athletic camps for youth during the summer, including football camps. The youth football camp and high school football camp took place early June.Five years ago, the first group of USU Volleyball Camp participants came to USU. Last year the camp sold out for the first time. Students from grades 7-12 will come from all over in late July to participate. While participants have generally been all female in the past, coordinators are opening the camp to males, too. USU student athletes coach the camp’s participants, and many of these students consider the volleyball team when they are deciding where to go to college.

<strong>Adult programs</strong>

The summer programs at USU are not just for youth. USU also conducts seven different programs for adults, bringing up to 1,000 participants to campus and using facilities from the computer labs and the University Inn to sometimes even the dorms.The program has developed a unique online speaker management program, program coordinator Joy Brisighella said. A schedule for speakers at different conferences can be built with the online program, and the speakers themselves can log in and add their personal biographies as they have time. From this online management program, USU event coordinators can organize speaker schedules and prepare printed materials to be handed out at the various conferences.Different associations from across the world come to the university for getaways and training sessions. Herff Jones, a yearbook company, has been coming to USU for 20 years to train workers on producing yearbooks.Program coordinators also travel through the U.S. planning these kinds of training camps for companies as they are requested.

<strong>Summer Citizens</strong>

Celebrating its 35th anniversary at USU, the Summer Citizens program actually began at BYU-I and came to USU in 1976 when the campus in Rexburg flooded.The program, created for those who are at least 55 years old, attracts lifelong learners. They come from all over the nation, mostly from California, Nevada and Arizona. The Summer Citizens live in student housing, some of it on campus, but there are nine off-campus housing facilities that house participants as well.Program coordinator Linda D’Addabbo said while most participants come from neighboring states, the program is open to Cache Valley locals. She would love to have more local participants in the upcoming years.”Why have a beautiful program that is only offered to out-of-staters?” D’Addabbo said.Participants purchase a card at the beginning of the summer – $85 for the first and $75 for the second household card for nonresidents, or $45 for the first and $35 for the second household card for residents. This card functions like a traditional student’s ID card, and gives them access to the Merrill-Cazier Library, the HPER and Nelson Fieldhouse recreation facilities.Then the Summer Citizens can choose which classes they’d like to enroll in, from water aerobics to cooking, from crafts to the history of China. Some classes are taught by local experts, and others are taught by USU professors. Most cost $35-$45 per class.

<strong>Other programs</strong>

Girls ages 12-15 will be at USU for the week long Retreat for Girls. While it is an LDS-run program, girls of other denominations are invited to come and participate in the workshops, activities and games. Based on EFY, this program is specifically for the younger girls.The USU Ropes Course, located in Logan by First Dam, hosts youth and corporate groups during the summer. The course consists of trust-building exercises and builds leadership skills in participants. Ropes course coordinators travel when needed, and have taken the leadership-building activities as far as Vernal.USU program coordinators host many other smaller camps and activities throughout the summer, such as the Davis Impact Team – which teaches 110 kids how to teach alcohol awareness to small children – and the 4-H State Contest.

<strong>Benefits of summer programs</strong>

These programs bring a slew of benefits to USU and the university community.Summer programs create jobs for students like Falter who wish to stay in Logan for the summer. Student employees are involved in planning and carrying out the various camps.One of the first goals of USU’s summer activities, particularly the youth programs, is recruiting, youth programs coordinator Tyler Johnson said. For many, the youth camps and conferences are the young kids’ first experiences with Utah State’s campus. Johnson has talked to many USU students who said they had participated in youth programs at the university as a kid.Summer programs bring in business for other entities on campus, who all work together to make the camps and conferences run smoothly. Program coordinators use catering services, Housing, Parking, Admissions, Facilities, Campus Recreation, University Police, buildings on campus and the USU Bookstore.The benefits don’t just come to the university, but the community gets business from summer guests as well. Program participants, especially the Summer Citizens, eat at local restaurants, go to see operas and shop at stores in Logan. Cache Valley’s economy grows from the out-of-state dollars brought in by program participants.”It just keeps the campus alive and growing,” said Senior Citizen program coordinator Linda D’Addabbo.- rachel@cvdaily.com

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