BY LAURA LAPHAM
For the first-year students of Denison, whether you are just coming from only an hour away or from the other side of the world, transportation and exploring the area around Denison can be quite difficult.
Many factors can play into the issue of first-years escaping campus for a little; it may be from a lack of transportation or just not knowing where to go, but luckily there is an option for those having trouble leaving campus on the weekends. ‘22 Connect is a program targeted toward first-year students to help them explore the Greater Columbus Area and to get off campus.
‘22 Connect is not the first of its kind, for every class at Denison has their own connect program. The program started in the Fall of 2017, and offers five trips on the weekends each semester for the students of the first-year class to be able to leave campus for a little. The trips are made to appeal to as many people as possible.
Wwhen asked about organizing the trips Moriah Ellenbogen, the organizer of ‘22 Connect, said, “I try my best to choose destinations that are widely-known Columbus favorites, as well as plan various trips that appeal to all students.” Some trips for the fall semester have already happened, including a trip to the Italian Festival in Columbus.
‘22 Connect held a duel purpose that is important for the first-year students. One purpose is to help close the gap between Granville and Columbus cited in President Weinberg’s plan to help connect these two thriving communities for first-year Students. Moriah Ellenbogen had only traveled out to Columbus once during her time at Denison. She later moved to Columbus and realized how much she wished she had explored more outside of campus during her time at Denison.
“I hope that this program familiarizes students with Columbus, and maybe even motivates them to keep exploring on their own time!” said Ellenbogen. This program also helps the first-year students connect with each other especially when they are feeling homesick, lonely or bored. “My hope is that the program has fostered some new friendships,” explained Ellenbogen.
The program presents the benefits to first year students by bringing them out of the “Denison Bubble” and showing them more of the general area and rids the feeling of being cooped up. This program allows students to form relationships, whether it be just for the weekend or for the entirety of their time here at Denison.
Many students take advantage of the weekend trips. However, this opportunity for first-year students could be utilized more. “I do wish, however, that more students took advantage of them. If Denison had been offering completely free weekend trips to places like the Columbus Museum of Art and Columbus Zoo back when I was a first-year student here, I like to think I would have been thrilled by the prospect!” said Ellenbogen.
The Connect programs are new and there is still so much that can be done. When asked about the ‘22 Connect program, Financial Behavioral Economics major Jacob Chreky said, “I think it is a good idea, but I wish they would expand the program.”
‘22 connect is a wonderful program that offers great opportunities for the first-year students here at Denison and has the potential to create a tighter-knit community on campus. For more information, check out the first-year office in Higley on the first floor, or contact Moriah Ellenbogen at firstname.lastname@example.org.