June 2018 – The Urban Experience Program (UEP) hosted two Summer Bridge programs consisting of over 70 incoming freshmen.
The Urban Experience Program (UEP) at the University of Houston hosted two Summer Bridge programs from June 13th – 16th and July 11th – 14th. Over 70 New Coogs joined UEP on campus with the goal of being immersed in University of Houston culture and become familiar with college expectations, as well as student life. Through Summer Bridge, student participants work through a structured curriculum that exposes them to challenges they may potentially face their first year in college as well as the resources and skills to navigate them.
Throughout four days and three nights, students stayed on campus at no financial cost to them, and were able to immerse themselves in college life. The future Cougars were directed by an exceptional group of student leaders and a graduate intern. “We are very intentional about having our Student Leaders set the tone and guide the student participants. We have found that New Coogs benefit from the experience, perspective, and guidance from their peers,” Program Coordinator Sharlene Laud noted about the student staff. Having a student-led program allows for a relevant and student guided perspective about college.
In addition to student led panels and presentations, multiple offices from across campus presented topics to the students. These presentations included financial aid, campus wellness, mental health, and civic engagement among others. Students also visited the Learning Advancements for Undergraduate Cougars of Houston (LAUNCH) and the library, which began to familiarize them with available resources on campus. “Summer Bridge prepared me to be successful by showing that there are many resources to be used on campus and the helpful advice”, said a student participant, “I enjoyed the activities, new people I met, and the advice”.
Due to growth of the program, UEP will be hosting two Summer Bridges this year. In order to meet the needs of incoming first generation students, UEP partners with local K-12 partners such as KIPP, YesPrep, Houston ISD, and OneGoal to better understand concerns and unmet needs of first-generation college student and create a pipeline of support as students transition to college.
UEP would like to extend the sincerest thanks to the following on-campus groups for their support in making Summer Bridge a valuable experience for students: Campus Dining, Center for Student Involvement, Counseling and Psychological Services, LAUNCH, Student Centers, Student Housing and Residence Life, UH Health Center, UH Wellness, TDECU Bank, Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, and the Writing Center.
"Our summer bridge program allows for a deeper connection to college life by teaching incoming freshman the necessary skills and resources to help them reach their academic and personal goals,” stated Dr. Raven Jones, Director of the Urban Experience Program. Summer Bridge provided an opportunity for first generation students address unique challenges they may face entering college, and allowed them to leave the program with academic, financial, and social coping skills.
You can be a part of keep future Summer Bridges free of cost for New Coogs by making a donation on our giving page.
Above is a picture of program participants for the first Summer Bridge program.