On Saturday, Bellarmine welcomes nearly 400 students and their families to the Bellarmine Community. The annual event, Knight U, is the first of many big steps into Bellarmine. Students meet peers and discuss their academic plans with faculty and advisors. Parents and families receive an overview of the essentials of the Bellarmine experience from faculty, staff, and students.
My role is to help ease the transition for new families! Though it seems at first that the schedule is long and the speakers, handouts, presentations, and panels are numerous, the day really does fly by. We could probably fill double the time and still have more information for you. But, that is just the reason that we have online resources, contact information, and, ultimately, the Parent Crossroads Orientation in August!
If you’re discovering this blog before Knight U, what follows is a sneak peak of the topics (and speakers) with which you’ll interact. If you find this after Knight U, what follows will be a refresher of who you met, where they’re from, and how to follow-up. Like I said, we provide a lot of information; we don’t expect you to memorize every part.
After you register and grab breakfast (and say “see you later” to your future Bellarmine student), Tim Sturgeon, Dean of Admission welcomes you. A student provides a blessing for the day.
The first major session is Academic and Curricular Engagement. The panel is led by our Provost, Dr. Pfeffer, and consists of Dr. Pike (Nursing), Dr. Blandford (English), and students. The goal of this session is to help you understand the academic trajectory for all undergraduate students, rooted in the liberal arts, but individualized depending on majors and co-curricular programming such as Learning Communities.
Next is Parent Programs (where you meet me!). I’ll first introduce the philosophy of Parent Programs and initiatives. Then, I’ll show you the specific communication pieces (like this blog) and programs available for parents to learn and engage with Bellarmine. At this time, you also reflect on your new role in your student’s life and discuss issues with other families.
Billing and Financial Aid take the stage next. Heather Boutell, Director of Financial Aid, and Angie Walsh, Bursar, will highlight the need-to-know information. They will tell you when to expect the bill, why filing the FAFSA is so important, and how exactly you can access your student’s bill as an “authorized user” online. Financial Aid staff are also available later in the afternoon to meet with families individually.
Our final panel is titled Campus Life and Support. During this session, you hear from me (wearing the Writing Center and Academic Resource Center hat), Leslie Maxie-Ashford (Student Affairs and Residence Life), Gary Peteprin (Counseling Center), and Dani Reid (Student Activities). At this time, we will open the floor to you to ask about anything– from commuter student support, to what “tutoring” is in college, to what to expect from those first few weeks of orientation and classes.
During lunch, you can stop by the Information Fair, which is also in Knights Hall. We will have representatives from the Learning Communities, Pioneer Scholars, Parent Programs (me, again), and Ronda Purdy of Disability Services.
Coach Davenport, the coach of our successful Men’s Basketball Team, closes the organized program (always with a lot of spirit!) for both families and students. After, you are welcome to spend some time with the Financial Aid staff and/or tour the campus.
Again, we organize the day with your interests in mind, but that doesn’t mean that we cover every question you have. Don’t hesitate to follow up with the offices you see at Knight U. This is just the first step on a long journey. We’re excited to take it with you!