Pulse, an on-campus scholarship program has added a sophomore section this year.
During the last year, its first, Pulse served 100 randomly selected freshmen as a way to “check their pulse each week” and get insight into the student body. By the end of the year, students voiced a desire to continue involvement despite becoming sophomores.
Dr. Gary McCaleb, vice president of the university, and the Center for Building Community heard the students and have provided a second Pulse group to work with these sophomores while again selecting 100 freshmen to begin with Pulse for the first time.
Pulse itself is an addition to another scholarship group on campus. Fourteen years ago, Lynay was created, establishing a place for a cross section of students of all classifications to get together each Monday and participate in discussion groups, provide community service and listen to guest speakers.
Interest grew and a second group of Lynay students began meeting on Tuesdays. By last year, interest had grown again and the freshman group, Pulse, was established.
Pulse has two intended benefits, McCaleb said.
“One, is that it enhances the students’ college experience,” he said. “The other, is that the information we get from them enhances what the university can do for all students.”
Pulse often meets with representatives from the ACU Police Department, Dining Services and other on campus departments to discuss ways they can better serve students.
“Through this conversation it is not just about making it better for those 100 students,” McCaleb said, “but it is about gaining information that can help other students in their residence hall or the cafeteria or with safety on campus.”
The addition of a sophomore section provides a slightly different service than the freshmen group.
“To me, the main point of freshmen pulse is to reassure students entering a new world,” said Jace Avery, senior business major from Tuscola, who serves as a mentor. “We want them to develop friendships and mentors. The sophomore group is about helping them to grow as people, whether that be academically or professionally.”
Through this addition, Pulse has expanded it’s reach but this year also brings a new service to those already in Pulse and Lynay. While McCaleb said he has never heard it referred to as “study hall,” Shizuka is a daily time when students can get away from busy dorms to focus on work. The program will help students focus on the idea of gradual improvement.
“The idea is that wherever you are, we want to make a plan so that you can incrementally get out of this hole,” McCaleb said.
The addition of a Pulse group and the creation of Shizuka will serve both the students directly participating and also those around campus. The next question is whether or not Pulse will expand for juniors next year.
“I don’t know,” McCaleb said. “I think we’re just going to have to do some creative thinking.”