USF helps new students adjust to college life

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 6:49 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - There was a sense of excitement around the University of Sioux Falls campus as the first day of classes began, and staff are helping new students get acquainted with the campus and their peers.

Some USF students are returning for another year, while new students have a new place to call home.

“Our facility has all joined back together and they are going through a retreat. It’s kind of fun. It’s kind of like getting the community all back together after having a long summer vacation,” said VP of Enrollment Management Aimee Vander Feen.

For the new crop of cougars, adjusting to college life can be a challenge. Andrew Porteous, Director of Student Life and Housing, said much of the focus early on is helping to provide a smooth transition.

“In order to help the students, we have a basic needs program we also put on. Obviously, the fun programming like intramurals, trying to keep the students busy while they are outside of the classroom and engaged and give them a bit of fun as well,” said Porteous.

The ‘fun’ programming helps students make new connections and new friends.

“It is just trying to get them engaged and trying to get them to meet as many people to make those connections, make new friends. Then, we’ve got programming every night this week, and next week, we start with USF Olympics which is each hall competing against each other in various sports including cornhole and speed texting. So, even if you’re not athletic, you can join in,” said Porteous.

Sometimes, the best learning can come from outside the classroom.

“Just take a deep breath. You’re going to do great. We are all here to support you. Go to events, get involved. That was super helpful to me. There are so many events we have planned, so many fun things we have just get involved and know that it will take some time when you first get here to get adjusted, and that’s ok,” said Geena Morrison, a USF student and resident assistant.