Trevecca Nazarene University has long emphasized the importance of small groups in helping new students transition to life on campus.
But this year, the familiar groups—known as LEAP and Adventure LEAP groups—have undergone a name change and a shift in vision, just in time for the incoming class of 2020.
Originally, the name LEAP was meant to signify the “leap” students make as they transition from high school into college. Organized by employees of Trevecca’s Center for Calling, Leadership and Service (CLCS), the small groups provide freshman with a connection point on campus—a small group of peers who are also new students as well as a faculty member.
While the intention of the groups isn’t changing, the name of the program is. LEAP groups will now become LINK groups. Adventure LEAP groups, an optional initiative of the first year program that invites students to participate in hiking, camping and other adventure activities, will now be called TREK groups.
According to Megan McGhee, coordinator of first year programs, the CLCS team and Trevecca’s marketing department have been contemplating the change for a little over a year now. They soon came to the conclusion that the term LEAP had no real connection to Trevecca.
One of the main reasons McGhee said the University made the change was to better assist transfer students. In previous years, LEAP groups were not offered to transfers, but will be now. McGhee explained that transfers need as much help getting to know their peers and joining the Trevecca community as freshman do.
“Helping students form a link with the University is what we want these groups to be about,” McGhee said. “You’re here now, and we want you to have a place in the community.”
This year, there will be transfer LINK groups as well as transfer LINK peer mentors.
“We want to be more intentional in building relationships with transfer students,” McGhee said.
The name change also reflects a slight shift in the focus of LINK and TREK groups. The program will now focus less on guiding students through the transition from high school to college and more on helping students to get connected with other students, faculty, staff and the Trevecca community.
In addition, Trevecca’s New Student Service Day, traditionally held right before the fall semester begins, will now be known as City Link Service Day. This move is designed to help new students connect to Nashville, creating a link to the city through the community service project, McGhee explained.
Leap Day, a fun-filled day of competition and team building also received a new title: Trevecca Field Day.
“The hope is that the name change will encompass the spirit of what the day is, which is just a time for new students to have fun and build community,” McGhee said.
As for the future of the program, McGhee said the CLCS hopes to soon add transfer TREK groups and ultimately create a club for upperclassman to be able to participate in TREK camping trips, too.
While the names may be different, the emphasis behind the program stays the same: to help student connect with each other and the faculty and staff of the University, as well as acclimate to the community. According to students, it’s a program that works.
“I came to Trevecca from a small town and was afraid it would be difficult to get connected,” said Lauren Colwell, a senior communication studies major. “My LEAP group really gave me a great sense of community my freshman year. I am still connected with my LEAP friends. I’m actually rooming with one of them over the summer!”