Ignite!, the early move-in program I started for innovative freshmen, ran from Thursday 8/24 to Saturday 8/26. We did an amazing race, improv comedy, big games of volleyball and many impactful workshops lead by past Igniters. This was our second time running the program and it went many times better than last year. Here’s why:
Delegation – A huge thank you to Reeti Parikh, the student coordinator for Ignite! 2017, and all of the other past Igniters who ran workshops. Empowering others to contribute their voices to the program lead to a much better end result. There was more variety across the sessions and participants got to hear from people who were in their shoes just one year ago.
Fun – The team of past Igniters helped out all three days. Most of knew each other well and had a lot of fun being together, especially since this was one of the first reunions after summer break. When the Ignite! volunteers are all laughing together, it sets the current Igniters at ease. They’re able to enjoy themselves more because they know they’re in an environment that encourages collaboration and fun.
Staying true to the goal of connection – Last year, Ignite! was started with the goal of giving incoming freshmen the opportunity to connect before school started, and teaching them skills needed to ignite their imaginations. Last year I spent too much time focusing on the igniting imaginations and kept the program a little too educational, forgetting about the goal of connection.
This year we broadened the goal to “igniting your college experience,” and focused more on bringing personal connections into more of the activities. Overall, I think Igniters had more chances to meet each other and get to know one another.
Iteration – All of these improvements came as a result of trying again. The first year wasn’t perfect, but we collected data, talked to past Igniters and redesigned the program based on all the feedback. Many changes were for the best, but as always there is plenty of room to get better!