The class of 2027 spent Aug. 23-28 getting to know Alma College’s campus, faculty and each other during this year’s Tartan 101. The five days allowed the new students to learn what it is like to be a Scot.
Laura Riegger, Associate Director for Student Engagement, was a leading force in the organization of Tartan 101. She worked directly with the Senior First Year Guides (FYGs) to execute the five-day-long event.
“Our team begins planning for Tartan 101 in the fall. That planning process spans almost a full year. We start by reviewing student feedback from the Tartan 101 evaluation forms as well as any feedback we have received from campus partners,” said Riegger.
“The Senior First-Year Guides are also critical in the planning and implementation of Tartan 101… They live on campus over the summer to execute the planning and implementation of those programs to ensure they run smoothly,” said Riegger.
One such Senior First Year Guide is Alex Kennedy (‘24), who helped plan and coordinate Tartan 101 alongside Riegger.
“Everyone did a great job all summer preparing for Tartan 101, and when the FYGs came, they did amazing. We have a great group of FYGs this year that did a great job with the students, working with one another and working with us,” said Kennedy.
“The five days of Tartan 101 allows [first-year students] to get to know their peers on campus and their fellow first-year students. They also meet their First Year Guide, who’s a student here at Alma but has experience and can help guide them through their first semester of college,” said Kennedy.
This year’s Tartan 101 looked a bit different from years past. “[We] tried to structure each day of Tartan 101 around a component of the Alma College mission statement. Day 2 was focused heavily on academics with events such as Convocation, a meet and greet with academic advisors, and an academic success session. We also… tried to be very intentional with the speakers we asked to talk during Tartan 101,” said Riegger.
Another prominent change is that groups are now chosen based on the floors or pods where they live to create community in the residence halls, instead of by random selection.
“It was good getting to know everyone in our hallway. We all got a lot closer, and I also like how we’re all in class together,” said Chloe Colton (’27).
Overall, the attitude towards this year’s Tartan 101 program was positive. First-years enjoyed getting to interact with their peers and their First Year Guides, along with becoming acquainted with campus.
“I liked that the First Year Guides were able to be a close source for all of us to use throughout the first year. …I feel like Tartan 101 did a good job at introducing us to the most important aspects of the campus,” said Jackson Pollard (’27).
Pollard was one of many students who shared these attitudes. He only had one complaint when it came to his first five days on Alma’s campus.
“Personally, I feel like some things were a bit long, but the late-week portions were a lot easier to get through than the earlier ones. Some presentations dragged, but then when we got to the more important ones like Title IX and Dr. Glenn, we were like ‘Okay, this is something I can sit and listen to,’” said Pollard.“We are always looking for new ways to improve Tartan 101… Our department is always open to hearing ideas from students, so I would encourage anyone who has feedback to fill out the Tartan 101 evaluation,” said Riegger.