Out-of-staters program connects students
Baldwin City, Kan. — Baker University's Office of Student Affairs has created the Out-of-Staters program to connect with the more than 100 students from outside of Kansas who call Baldwin City home.
Students from as far away as California and Florida are enrolled at Baker. Other states represented are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.
"Every connection is important for retention efforts," said Cassy Bailey, dean of students. "Out-of-state students may feel out of place, especially on a long weekend or typical times of homesickness when other students can just go home."
The program relies on faculty and staff to reach out to students once during the summer and throughout the students' time at Baker.
"Volunteers are encouraged to share their connection to the students' home state," Bailey said. "For some, relationship blossoms and they share a meal or coffee or assist the student in some way. For others, the connection is based more on email communication and as a campus resource. The program offers flexibility in that way. Additionally, this year students will have a door sign with a picture of their home state and new "home" state with information about the out-of staters program.
Bailey can relate to the challenges out-of-state students face when transitioning to a new environment. During her undergraduate years, she attended college in Washington after coming from Texas.
"Everyone is proud of their home state and no matter how far you travel, it is always a part of your identity," Bailey said. "Not all students are alike. Some students are homesick no matter if they are from New Jersey or Overland Park. We know that students who are connected to the campus are happier and more successful inside and outside the classroom. The feedback we have received has been positive."