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Learn more about UWEC's COVID-19 response.

Freshman Connection


The Freshman Connection Immersion Program is a 6-day educational experience designed to help incoming freshmen make a smooth transition to college life while developing their leadership potential. The program consists of workshops, group activities and adventure trips that focus on personal development, academics, goal setting, and social network development. Students will gain self-awareness, create lasting friendships and develop a proactive approach to life as they prepare to begin their experience at UW-Eau Claire.

During the first two days of the program students will experience what life is like on campus. They will tour and become familiar with the campus, utilizing meeting rooms, residence halls, dining halls and recreation facilities. The experience will continue with  3 day-trip adventures.

While on campus, the program will take place during the hours outlined on the schedule. Outside of those hours, our staff will not be responsible for students. Students will be held accountable to all University Housing and campus policies. Students who violate campus policies will be removed from the program and referred to the Dean of Students Office.

We believe everyone's ability to grow as a leader is based on their ability to grow as a person. To accelerate this growth, students will engage in fast-moving and motivating experiences what will enhance their self-determination and personal effectiveness, and improve interpersonal communication skills. We look forward to sharing these exciting and enriching experiences!

When 2020 Participants were asked, “How do you plan to apply what you've learned, from your experiences during the Freshman Connection, to personal and academic life?” they responded:

Previous to the freshman connection program I had very low confidence when talking to other people, this program helped me realize that it's easier to be more confident because most other people feel the same way. It is much easier to walk up to other people and start conversations than before, making it easier to socialize both outside and hopefully inside of class. Without this program, especially with covid-19, starting classes would've been blunt and disorienting. This program not only allowed us to meet other people, but it also helped many of us adjust to having a schedule again, which in turn will help us prepare for officially starting college.

I definitely have a new appreciation for hiking, canoeing and other outdoor activities and plan to continue these activities. I also plan on using the advice that I received for academic purposes. They gave me advice on studying, class, and time management and it was awesome!

I've learned that even when an experience is new and overwhelming, your attitude about it is what makes it good or bad. Making friends and becoming familiar with campus has made me feel more comfortable and prepared for college.

I plan on applying what I've learned during the Freshman Connection to my personal life by continuing to get out of my comfort zone, getting out and meeting new people, and also continuing to grow the friendships I've made through the program. I plan on using it in my academic life by finding people who are taking the same classes as me and forming groups to study and also making friends with them.

Quotes from 2020:

During this time I got here I was so worried about making friends and getting used to college but even after the first night I found a group of people who I never thought I would, they have honestly become my best friends even after 2 weeks of being here and I am so happy to have them in my life that I'm afraid I wouldn’t' have if I wasn't a part of this experience. -Kenneth, Melrose, WI, 2020 Participant

The Freshman Connection Program was a great way to meet people and form lasting bonds even before the school year officially began. The upperclassmen leaders shared valuable advice and tips, and I was able to learn my way around campus almost a week ahead of my peers not in the program. It was a very fun, yet challenging week that forced me out of my comfort zone for new, exciting experiences. -Justine, Duluth, MN, 2020 Participant

I loved connections! Meeting new people and getting to know campus without the stress of classes was so nice. The trips are so fun and get you familiar with places around Eau Claire to come back too for more adventures! The EAC staff is also really knowledgeable and gave some good insights on how to get the most out of your college experience. -Becca, Chippewa Falls, WI, 2020 Participant

I'm so glad I decided to do freshmen connection. I was a little on edge about it because I didn't want to do it by myself... not knowing anyone scared me! I did it and they split us up into groups. That's where I met some of the BEST people! If I could do this again I would!! -Mary, 2020 Participant

Freshman Connection was such a rewarding experience. I made so many new connections with not only the other incoming freshman, but the older students as well. We got to take fun trips, like swimming at Big Falls which was AWESOME! I would highly recommend this program to future Blugolds!!! - Annika, Duluth, MN, 2020 Participant

The EAC staff

Your Adventure Awaits

The trip leaders are fellow Blugold students with extensive training though the Environmental Adventure Center. They are sure to provide an excellent outdoor experience for everyone!

Meet our crew
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