Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Ignite UA develops freshmen

Freshmen, check your college résumé. Do you have any noteworthy college activities listed yet? If not, there’s still time to get involved this year.

First Year Experience has just opened the doors to its new program, Ignite UA.

The program is a community-building experience for both freshmen and transfer students who may not have gotten involved during their first semester on campus.

“We’re looking for students who have the potential to lead but might not have taken those steps yet at the University of Alabama,” said Sara Hartley, director of First Year Experience.

Hartley said the program was introduced later in the semester so students would have had time to warm up to campus and discover their interests.

They will be notified of their acceptance before winter break and have something to look forward to when they come back, she said.

She said FYE is in the beginning stages of building the curriculum, which is divided into four different phases.

Students will start with a sense of self and move on to campus awareness, connection development and a plan of action for their Capstone experience.

The program doesn’t require volunteer hours, but students are encouraged towards civic engagement and knowing what issues are impacting Tuscaloosa, she said.

In February, the program’s partner, LeaderShape, will come to campus for a full day of phase three development. LeaderShape will aid students in gaining self-awareness, finding potential to lead and creating a vision, Hartley said.

She said the program tried to make the application a simple process in order to attract a diverse group of applicants.

Litsa Orban, IgniteUA’s co-founder, said they’re focusing on building a community of students who might not have known each other otherwise but share common interests.

“Our main goal for all of these students is to build a community,” she said.

Orban said reflection would be a large component of the program, which she believes will be more than just a passive experience. Instead, IgniteUA will be interactive, filled with activities and simulations.

“We want to make this a campus partner effort,” she said. “We can do this together.”

Matthew Clayton, a senior majoring in biology, acts as a student coordinator for FYE and helps plan many of the activities for the program.

“Right now we’re doing a lot of communications and setting up what programs we want to implement,” he said. “We want to make it a great way for students to get together.”

Currently, he’s busy sending out letters for nominators and trying to contact anybody who is in their first year at the University. They’re employing a variety of methods, from Facebook and Twitter to word-of-mouth, he said.

He said while it is a learning-based organization, they are still trying to make it fun for everyone.

“It’s open to anybody who’s in their first year here,” he said. “If you haven’t found a home here yet, we’re open.”

Applications for IgniteUA are open through Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. They are available at and can be returned to Room 132 of Mary Burke East.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to nominate first-year students by emailing the student’s name and contact information to [email protected].

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