Innovative BUILD Program Shapes the Future of College Life

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The pioneering BUILD initiative is transforming the experience of many college students, helping them overcome the challenges they face and prepare for a bright future.

Understanding the BUILD Program

The BUILD program (which stands for Bethel University Inclusive Learning and Development) aims to create opportunities for students that may not have access to traditional college experiences. Leveraging a comprehensive approach towards student support, including mentorship, individualized learning plans, and social engagement activities, the initiative has proven its ability to shape students’ futures in a positive way.

Designed to be more than just an academic program, BUILD focuses on empowering students with various tools and resources necessary for their personal development and growth.“Part of why you’re in college is to work through the challenges,” says program director Dawn Allen. “If you can be real with me about what the problem is, we can work together to solve it.”

Fostering New Friendships and Self-Discovery

A key aspect of the BUILD program revolves around creating connections and building relationships among its participants. By fostering a sense of community within the college campus, the program enables students to form strong bonds that last throughout their academic journey and beyond.

One such participant, Boatman, shared his appreciation for the chance to join the BUILD program, which allowed him to forge new friendships and discover his faith: “Every Sunday we would watch NFL games together.”

Creating Safe Spaces for Students

  • Setting up welcoming spaces in offices, classrooms, and other campus locations where students can feel comfortable discussing any personal or academic issues they may be experiencing.
  • Offering individualized guidance and mentorship to address students’ unique needs and challenges, ultimately ensuring their academic success while enhancing personal growth.
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The program director’s office is known for providing a welcoming environment where students can feel at ease discussing their concerns:“The opportunity to have a full college experience is something that we’re really proud of,” Allen commented. “That’s what the program is all about.”

Social Mentoring and Community Impact

One feature of the BUILD program allows students who have completed their first year to act as social mentors for newcomers. This not only helps new students adapt more smoothly to their new environment but also provides valuable leadership opportunities for existing participants.“Having a student realize that she’s learning how to pave the way for other students, and then being able to embrace it because she sees it as something she’s helping create,” adds Allen. “I think that was probably one of the most beautiful moments.”

Apart from the direct impact on students themselves, the BUILD program has also been praised for enhancing the overall college community.“I think just being with them, you just can’t help but have a good time and definitely smile,” says residential supervisor Katie Lane, emphasizing the transformative effect that BUILD students have on campus life.

Continuous Improvement and Future Prospects

While the BUILD program has already seen tremendous success, its organizers remain focused on refining its components to better suit the ever-evolving needs of today’s college students.

Bethel pastor and BUILD teacher Jason Steffenhagen highlights his hope for the future of the initiative: “My hope is that the themes we’ve talked about – love, grace, forgiveness, and seeing life as a hopeful thing – are what they take away from it.”

In conclusion, the BUILD program provides an innovative and effective solution for addressing the unique challenges faced by many college students. By offering personalized support, fostering connections, and continuously improving the initiative, BUILD is proudly shaping the future of college life for its participants.

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