Initiative creates atmosphere

With this being the first J-Term for Mercyhurst University, there were a lot of concerns.

A prominent concern was keeping students occupied when they were not in class.

The J-Term is meant to allow students to immerse themselves in their studies but to do so in a more relaxed manner.

Many clubs and organizations used the J-Term as an opportunity to involve more students in their activities.

This allows students to expand their interests and their college experience.

Knowledge Empowers You (KEY) is an effort to coordinate these activities across campus.

With so much time available throughout the J-Term, everyone wanted to maximize the time.

Associate Vice President of Student Life Laura Zirkle worked on developing the initiative with other organizations.

“We wanted to make sure there were no gaps and limit redundancy,” she said.

It was important that the activities were spread out over the term and that a wide variety of activities were offered. Activities this year ranged from sled riding, cocoa nights and trivia game nights to leadership workshops and guest speakers.

There was a balance between enjoyable and educational activities helping to contribute to the overall college experience.

With so many organizations, it can be difficult to keep all the activities on campus organized as a student or a faculty member. It is unfortunate when a student has to pick between going to one activity or another.

“With all the time opened in J-Term, we don’t want students to have to do that,” said Zirkle.

Through coordination with KEY, the students as well as the campus organizations have benefited greatly. Resources have been combined in advertising, space and equipment.

Calendars have been distributed with all the activities listed and the next event is often advertised at the end of an event.

Technical equipment such as speakers or music is also easily shared through the KEY initiative.

The students have benefited greatly from their efforts and the campus organizations have opened a new line of cooperation expanding their capabilities.

The initiative began over the summer as a conversation and has grown into a conference of the directors of Residence Life, Academic Support, Campus Involvement and Campus Ministry.

The faculty strives to engage the freshmen in activities at Mercyhurst and encourage upperclassmen to remain involved throughout their years.