The purpose of the Blugold Beginnings Program is to educate and inspire students, especially underrepresented, low income or first generation students, to believe that a post-secondary education is important, attainable, and available at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and other institutions.
The Blugold Beginnings Program works with local schools to provide a comprehensive college connection for 5th graders through graduating seniors. Blugold Beginnings hires current UW- Eau Claire students as mentors for students in elementary through high school. The mentors develop relationships with students, act as role models, and provide college knowledge to mentees.
The Program also includes 5th Grade Campus Tour Days, which connect local and outreach elementary schools to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and introduce them to the idea of college. For our high school students, we have monthly events on campus such as football games, residence hall events, and other college life events for them to become connected to UW-Eau Claire. Finally, there are summer camps where high school and middle school students learn about college access, college classes, and college life while spending a week on campus interacting with faculty and the rest of campus.
Goals of the Program:
- Provide college knowledge (access, purpose, and goals) to students of Eau Claire and the greater area, thus increasing the number of students who receive a post-secondary education and retention of these minds to the Eau Claire area.
- Retain local students in the program through elementary, middle, and high school and send them down a post-secondary educational path by forming long lasting relationships.
- Prepare and facilitate high school students to graduate fully informed and qualified for post-secondary enrollment.
- Have students build relationships with motivated, respectful, optimistic, and encouraging mentors that serve as positive role models.
- Increase the overall awareness of college knowledge, higher education, and the opportunities it can provide.
- Make contact between UW- Eau Claire and all fifth graders within 60 miles of campus to provide the opportunity to visit the university on Tour Day and to provide high school students in the program with monthly campus events.
- Grant college scholarships to Blugold Beginnings high school graduates who attend UW- Eau Claire for their post-secondary education.
- Create a sustainable mentorship program by developing relationships with UW-Eau Claire mentors who were formerly Blugold Beginnings participants, UW-Eau Claire alumni, the Eau Claire and greater area communities, program partners, and more.
- Identify and provide solutions for existing gaps in college access services.
- Provide a unified campus voice on precollege access by combining the recruitment work of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Admissions, and the Dean of Students Office by providing the comprehensive access plan and communicating it with the respective offices.
- Raise awareness of the success and struggles with college access within the community in regards to policy makers, business leaders, and educators.
- Improve access to higher education by developing comfort with the physical campus, the knowledge to access college information, and with the support of the mentor relationship.
- Give our elementary, middle, and high school students the skills to be self-advocates and demand challenging classes and a meaningful education.
- Increase retention on campus by providing meaningful employment, connections to peers, and a sense of community.
Components of the Program:
The program includes UW-Eau Claire student mentors working within local schools to provide support services to underrepresented students. Mentors will coordinate with teachers, staff, parents, and student schedules to create the most convenient and effective times for mentors to work with students and to determine what activities to focus on.
These services include the following:
- Tutoring/Homework Help
- Study Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Career Exploration
- College Preparation Skills
- UW-Eau Claire Tour Day
- High School Monthly Events
5th Grade Campus Tour Day
The program includes Tour Day, where students have the opportunity to visit the UW-Eau Claire campus and become familiar with a university setting. The main focus of the day and the Blugold Beginnings program, is to inspire students and help them understand that a post-secondary education is important and attainable. Learn more about 5th Grade Campus Tour Day on our Events Page.
Blugold Beginnings focuses on several social events for their participating students throughout the year. We feel that in-the-classroom teaching is just as important as out-of-the-classroom teaching. Materials about upcoming events are given to students by their mentors.
More summer camp information is found on the Summer Camps Page. Every summer, Blugold Beginnings offers camps to local middle and high school students on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus. The camps are designed to provide a variety of college knowledge and experiences.