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Big Brothers-Sisters brings students together

Sept. 26, 1996

By Liberty Lay

Lariat Staff Writer

Freshmen may often be overwhelmed by the lifestyle change that comes with moving from high school to college.

To make this transition easier, Student Involvement Board offers the Big Brother-Big Sister program to incoming freshmen.

Upperclassmen volunteers apply to the program in the fall and are matched with an incoming student. When participating freshmen arrive at the University, they have a 'Big Sister' or 'Big Brother' ready to show them around.

Devon Anders, a Bellaire freshman, said she signed up for a big sibling in order to get to know someone who could answer her questions about the University and offer personal support and encouragement.

'I think it's great that we have a program like this,' Anders said. 'Baylor's really good about helping the new students out and making them feel welcome.'

Anders got acquainted with her big sister, Ashlea Everhart, a Tyler senior, when Everhart invited her to her apartment for dinner.

Everhart said the program is a good way for freshmen to meet older people and get away from the campus.

'It can be hard for them to be away from home at first, and sometimes they need help,' Everhart said.

Shannon Attebury, coordinator of the program and a Spring senior, said the goal is to help students adjust to life at the University.

'It's similar to a mentor program,' Attebury said. 'Sometimes the relationships last for a few years.'

Attebury said that the 'bigs' get to know the 'littles' by taking them out for yogurt, a movie, a walk around the Bear Trail or some other enjoyable activity.

'They typically get together during the first two weeks of school,' said Melissa Prihoda, coordinator of student involvement.

Prihoda said that most match-ups are between members of the opposite sex, but that same-sex siblings may be paired if the numbers require it.

This year, the second year for the program to be administered through the Student Involvement Board, 400 freshmen have signed up for big brothers or sisters during Welcome Week.

This shows an increase from last year of approximately 100 students.

'We didn't anticipate that number of freshmen,' Attebury said. Because there were only 350 'bigs' for the 400 'littles,' some of the upperclassmen were assigned more than one sibling, she said.

Rachel Morris, a Carrollton sophomore involved in the program, said that big brothers and sisters give freshmen someone to talk to if they have problems or questions.

'It makes them feel more comfortable here,' Morris said.

Any freshman, sophomore or junior is eligible to be a big brother or sister for one of next year's incoming freshmen.

Applications will be available during the spring semester at the student involvement booth in the Bill Daniel Student Center.



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