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Key communities welcome first years

August 26, 2010

On Aug. 18, the Key communities in Braiden and Parmalee halls opened their doors to hundreds of new students seeking new experiences and interacting in both life and academics.

Students begin to move their things into Braiden Hall. Key mentors helped with the move in process.

Building the communities

The Key Communities are highly diverse first and second year learning communities designed to assist students with their transition to and through the university. They consist of four different communities:

This past Wednesday, Braiden and Parmalee halls opened their doors to about 300 new students who would be involved in the communities. Key students move to campus one day earlier than other first year students in order to fully participate in Key Orientation, a required component of the program.

"They have so much to learn," said Resident Director Ariela Canizal. "They will meet their mentors, get acquainted with other students, and learn CSU chants and traditions."

Although most students are new, about 40 students are returning as part of the Key Plus program. Canizal says she hears nothing but great things about the program from these students and they are proof students are coming back just for the Key program.

"How do we support them in their mission?"

Undeclared first-year Jason Laub organizes his desk and room with roommate underclared first- year Justin Stallworth. Stallworth and Laub already get along as they are both Denver Broncos fans.

Canizal stresses how important supporting students in their mission here at CSU is and Key Academic Coordinator Jessica Klingsmith agrees.

"We always have a great group of students who are active and engaged on campus in many different ways."

The connects made in the Key communities starts from day one. Students must go through an application process before or during orientation, so Key mentors and leaders can know these students on a personal basis.

Director of Key Communities Tae Nosaka says it doesn't end there. All students take at least two classes with other students in their Key groups, or "clusters," which are lead by peer mentors. Clusters are made up of about 20 students and Nosaka made it clear they shouldn't be much bigger.

"We can't get so big we don't know them. We want them to know they are more than an ID number."

Psychology first year Samantha Aragon (far left) eats with her parents, Tonya and Ralph Garcia, in the newly redone Braiden dining hall. Aragon hopes to tryout for CSU poms her sophomore year.

Students excited to take part

The first year is always intimidating but first year psychology major John Zamora, part of Key Academic, is glad he will be around people who have the same classes as him. Zamora's father, John Sr., is really excited for his son.

"I think overall [Key Academic] is a good program. [The mentors] here really take pride in being CSU Rams and are willing to help everyone succeed."

Tonya Garcia, who is an elementary school principal, is bringing her daughter, Samantha Aragon, a first year psych major, into a learning environment she thinks will work for her daughter.

"I know my student and they will keep on her [in this program]." Garcia, as a principal, can see that CSU recognizes academic success in everyone.