By Sally Ann Moyer
Baylor New Student Programs will offer an Honors Program Line Camp session for the first time this summer.
Emily Sandvall, assistant director for new student programs, is working with the Honors Program to coordinate the specialty line camp session.
The Honors session will occur July 18-22, overlapping with session three of the traditional line camps.
The Honors session will have a limit of 100 incoming students, half the size of the traditional line camp sessions.
Courtney DePalma, program coordinator for the Honors Residential College, is currently recruiting student leaders and working with Sandvall to coordinate the honors session.
DePalma will choose 10 student leaders who currently have leadership roles in the Honors Program.
Honors-specific faculty will work with the program, and the dean of the Honors College will likely speak, DePalma said.
The idea for the Honors line camp grew out of a similar program developed by the School of engineering and computer Science.
“The Honors Program approached us in the fall, and we were really excited about the possibility because we’ve had great success with the ECS line camp,” Sandvall said.
Since 2009, New Student Programs has partnered with the school to host an engineering and computer science line camp session. This year, the engineering and computer science session will run July 25-29, overlapping with session five.
Adam Ecklund, director of engineering and computer science student initiatives, helped develop the engineering and computer science line camp program.
“We were just looking for a community experience for our students to have before they enter their first year,” Ecklund said.
The engineering and computer science program began as a way to build deeper relationships within specific majors.
“It was also a great way to impact retention, to help keep their students in the school and find community,” Sandvall said.
Ecklund has seen retention improve through the line camp experience in combination with the Living & Learning Centers and special first-year-experience U1000 curriculum.
“Even more important is the energy that these 100 students bring into our freshman class,” Ecklund said. “I’ve seen a huge difference in the spirit of our school because of line camp.”
Deer Park freshman Austin Bratcher, a computer science fellows major, participated in the engineering and computer science line camp session this past summer.
“I wanted to go to the ECS camp because I knew that the kids going there would be the ones I would see in my classes and in my dorm,” Bratcher said.
The main goal for both of the specialty sessions is to build a deeper sense of community within the specific programs.
The engineering and computer science program staff has assisted the Honors staff in planning the line camp program for this year.
“I’ve shared my notes, what we’ve done and given all the info possible for them to be successful,” Ecklund said.
The engineering and computer science program grew from more than 75 participants in 2009 to 109 in 2010.
Students participating in the specialty camps will integrate with those in the traditional camps during some of the programmed sessions, and all participants will stay in the same area for community building and logistical reasons, Sandvall said.
While there are no future plans for expansion into other department-specific line camp sessions, New Student Programs is receptive to future partnerships.
“We’re really open to having these conversations,” Sandvall said, “When this idea first came about, we wanted to keep it general so that other schools or programs could approach us, or we could approach them, to see what kind of partnerships could happen.”