Thursday, June 20, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Heather Worthing, right, representing Rick's Place in Monmouth, hands a coupon to incoming freshman Becca Hazel of Hillsboro at Western Oregon University's new student barbecue Sept. 19. Classes began Monday.
September 25, 2012
MONMOUTH -- Western Oregon University's "New Student Week" is a time when incoming freshmen can get their bearings, find campus resources, and explore the community they will live in for the next nine months.
It's also a time for learning how to live on your own. For Gardenia Jaime, one of the first lessons has been ... laundry.
"Between sports, school and clubs, I never had time to do it," Jaime said. "My mom helped me out so much."
Jaime is a first-generation college student and participated in WOU's Summer Bridge Program. She's been on campus for nearly two weeks prior to the start of fall term on Monday -- and has been washing her own clothes.
"Every time I go over to my laundry basket, I'm like `I've got to call my mom,'" Jaime said, smiling.
Household chore skills aside, Jaime seems to be on solid footing coming into her first year of college.
"This is the start of being on my own and having to figure out what I'm going to do for myself," she said. "I'm not really sure how I feel about it. When I think about it, the only thing I think of is that I'm going to do it (finish college) for (my parents) because they never had the opportunity to go to college."
Programs for WOU's new students during Summer Bridge and New Student Week are designed to help guide the way for the approximately 1,000 freshmen enrolled this fall, which would be close to the record of
WOU freshman Gardenia Jaime, far right, took a trip to Frozation Nation in Monmouth with her dorm floor.
One of those activities was the new student barbecue on Sept. 19, which introduced students to businesses and services in the Monmouth and Independence areas. Twenty-eight vendors lined up in a circle around the The Grove at Western to talk to students and give away coupons to entice them back.
"They come in and get to meet all the local businesses," said Dave Sundby, the assistant director of student housing. "They learn about resources that are here. I think especially students who aren't from a rural area or small town, they move to Monmouth or Independence and are like `There's nothing here.' But there's a lot."
For area businesses, new student week is an exciting time of year, as well.
"We usually close our stores earlier in the summer and have a lot less business," said Michael Hamilton, a supervisor at Mendi's Pizza Parlor in Independence. "When the kids come back to school, especially the freshmen, we see a large increase in deliveries and overall sales -- I would say it's at least double."
Independence Cinema 8's General Manager Cruz Orozco said ticket sales jump about 20 to 25 percent when school is in session. In an effort to get students though the doors, the theater changes the movies it books to more "college kid" flicks -- such as action and horror movies.
With many establishments closed in the later evening hours, the theater seeks to offer WOU students some late-night entertainment.
"We hope to see them there," Orozco said. "We're glad to have them back."
Michael Nguyen, a senior at WOU and member of WOU's PLUS (Peer Leaders Understandin
WOU freshman Han Nguyen copies her class schedule into a planner Friday before classes began Monday. WOU expected a near-record class of freshmen for fall term.
"It's definitely worth it, just to see all these students, some coming from places such as Alaska and California," he said. "They don't know too many people here, so they feel uncomfortable and don't know where to go. That's where I come in."
Freshman Han Nguyen of Gresham said her first two weeks on campus could have been intimidating, but mentoring and seminars offered to new students have made the transition easy.
"I really like it here," Nguyen said. "I've only been here two weeks, but I already feel that this is my home."
Nguyen, a pre-dentistry major, moved with her family to the United States from Vietnam only two years ago and has since learned to speak English. She said she was nervous about her English skills when she arrived on campus, but now those fears are gone.
"Students and staff around here are really nice," she said. "If I do make a mistake, they help me fix and change it."
She said when her family first arrived in the country, her teachers and classmates at Gresham High School offered to help her learn the language.
"When I got (to WOU), I got that same feeling again," she said.
Of the start of classes, Jaime and Nguyen said they were nervous and excited all at once.
Jaime said she will be starting her college career with more than herself in mind.
"I can't have my mom take me to the first day of school," she said. "In the back of my mind, I question myself: `Can I really do this?' But there is another side of me that says, `You are going to do this for you and your parents and everybody else who didn't think I would go to college.'"