By JACOB ATKINSON
The University of Mary Washington housed prospective students from Friday, April 8 to Saturday, April 9 as a part of its MOVE (Multicultural Overnight Visit Experience) initiative. The program focuses on broadening the diversity on campus and pairs a visiting student with an enrolled student. The visiting student stayed the night with the enrolled student in their residence hall as well as attended classes and campus activities with them for the majority of the day.
By attending classes with current students, prospective students got a legitimate experience as to what a college course is like; sitting in helps them transition from high school because they have a better idea of how the classes run before they arrive for their first college course. By living with an active student, the visitors also get to make their first real connections and memories on campus.
A big part of the MOVE initiative for the visiting students was seeing many parts of campus and experiencing conversations and events that they might not be able to experience on a standard one-day tour.
Freshman Matt Candy spoke about the initiative as he housed a prospective student. He mentioned his thoughts on how the program was a well-rounded way for the prospective students to gather their true opinions of the campus and school, based on more than a simple one-day visit. It gave them a deeper, more significant experience with the members of our community.
“Personally, I believe that it was a unique program that explains a little more about college than a simple tour does. It was effective enough to show prospective students what classes are like, dorm life, and campus activities that occur weekly like Reel Deels and other events like the Multicultural Fair,” Candy said.
The MOVE initiative was scheduled in tandem with the 26th annual Multicultural Fair, offering the visitors the chance to engage in the community-wide event. An astounding amount of students and people from the city of Fredericksburg come to get involved in this event every year and it was an opportunity for the visiting students to see how the students of UMW affect the Fredericksburg area.
Freshman Marc Krudop also spoke after housing one of the visiting students. He spoke more to the faulted side of the program, that even though it’s a good idea with great intentions, there were underlined issues with how it played out. There was time that left the enrolled students and prospective students without agenda, which can be awkward or even strenuous on people that are newly associated.
“The MOVE program is a great idea, if implemented properly,” Krudop said. Krudop spoke candidly about the experience, saying some of the slower moments during the weekend were a letdown.
“There seemed to be a lot of downtime and occasional awkward moments,” Krudop said. The prospective students were given options on activities to participate in during the day, but since no back-to-back events were scheduled all throughout the day, there were inevitable moments of down-time that left both the active and prospective students at a loss for what to do.
The University of Mary Washington’s Provost, Dr. Jonathan Levin, spoke with me about the initiative and how a very large portion of what the program can do for prospective students is provide a light on what goes on in college, and how someone who may not have prior knowledge on it can get acclimated early on.
“Many of the students in attendance were first-generation students, and it’s critical that these students make connections early, to help them navigate the sometimes choppy waters of the first-year experience,” Levin said.
With both pros and cons, the MOVE initiative overall came out as a successful event in the eyes of the students. MOVE opened the eyes of the prospective students as to what they can expect here at UMW if they choose to enroll.
“It seemed that across the board both the hosts and the students were having a great time,” Candy said.