Incoming Gorillas from far and wide filled the Jack H. Overman Student Center Monday, June 4, with unbridled optimism for their collegiate careers and hopes of learning what to expect.
Every year in June and July, prospective freshmen go through Pitt C.A.R.E.S, or the Campus, Advisement, Registration, and Enrollment Sessions. This program acts as an orientation to the college experience for both students and parents.
“It’s a very personal experience,” says Marcia Fries, parent.
This is Fries’ second time going through Pitt C.A.R.E.S. with a son of hers.
“It’s more interactive than the last time we went through this with my older son Alex,” Fries said.
At Pitt C.A.R.E.S, students learn about everything Pittsburg State has to offer from housing and financial obligations to the different organizations available on campus.
“We try to help the students out as much as we can, we offer a mentorship program even for new members,” said Adam Pistorius, senior in field biology representing Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. “We just want to be a good voice for the community.”
Pistorius and other members of Phi Sigma Kappa talked with prospective freshmen about rushing their fraternity and partaking in other events, including the Greek organization’s Trampoline-O-Thon, a 72-hour endurance test held during the first week of school to benefit the Special Olympics.
At Pitt C.A.R.E.S students have the opportunity to meet faculty within their department and receive advisement on what classes to take in their first semester.
“We have one of the better orientation programs when compared to a lot of other colleges,” said Doug Whitten, professor of music and director of athletic bands. Whitten handles all incoming music majors and handpicks classes that they need to take. “We offer the students a couple predictive exams to see if they can test out of some of their first year classes to save time.”
Whitten, as part of Pitt C.A.R.E.S., has the opportunity to meet with potential students to talk about Pitt State’s Pride of the Plains Marching Band.
“The band is made up of 70 to 80 percent non-music majors and it’s really fun to get to meet all the new students and get a vibe on the personality of the band.”
Students have a lot of information handed to them at Pitt C.A.R.E.S., but that also served to enthuse many of the incoming students.
“It’s kind of crazy but it only got me more and more excited,” said Tyler Fries, incoming freshman in music education. “I love the campus and it (Pitt C.A.R.E.S.) is a great way to get to know your peers and to ask some questions to other students. It’s just a comfortable, carefree environment.”
Fries said he is excited to be part of the university marching band, the music department, and Pitt State as a whole.
“It’s all very friendly and welcoming, and it’s also very prestigious,” he said.
Also available in addition to enrollment, student tour guides lead the prospective students on informative tours of campus filled with facts and Gorilla traditions. These can range from the infamous myth of stepping on the Oval’s Split-Face to the honorable tradition of ringing the bell at both initiation and graduation.
Pitt C.A.R.E.S. provides necessary resources for all involved; students gain knowledge on their new home, parents gain a measure of security sending their children away, and the faculty and university meet the new gorillas with open arms.