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Our Opinion: How To Fix FAME

By The Editorial Board Posted: 01/31/2008
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In a resolution that no doubt every Emory student can get behind, the College Council declared on Wednesday their desire to restructure the Freshman Advising and Mentoring at Emory (FAME) program. This rite of passage all Emory freshmen have experienced has long been in dire need of reform, and this College Council resolution is one that could not have come soon enough.

As it stands now, FAME is an excessively disorganized system. The program ranges from two months to the entire first semester, depending on the preferences of FAME leaders and advisors. It lacks a uniform outline or agenda beyond the fundamental basics of icebreakers, a cursory introduction to bidding for classes, and more of the same icebreakers. Lastly, mandatory events later in the semester often conflict with campus life to which FAME is intended to introduce students. One student, for example, missed a FAME event in order to go to a Yom Kippur service, and subsequently had to write a research paper.

A frequent criticism students make of FAME is the inconsistent and arbitrary nature of the relationship between faculty advisors and freshmen. Many students have indicated that they have had trouble relating to their initial advisor, and that those advisors have often been unable to provide any real assistance in helping new students find and select courses, the advisors’ primary purpose.

It is important to be exposed to academics at Emory, but precedent should not prevent experimentation with new ideas that can serve the same purpose. For example, a series of lunchtime mixers with faculty members could provide a better opportunity to get to know professors from a variety of departments.

At its core, FAME admirably seeks to satisfy the pressing needs of incoming students. It is our suggestion that FAME focus more on these basic needs, as opposed to providing harried freshmen with another source of mandatory assignments and forced group activities.

FAME should be providing students with an introduction to Emory life, which entails helping them learn the basics of how to join student organizations such as the Student Government, College Council, and the Wheel, and also assisting them in learning how to properly utilize resources such as OPUS and Learnlink.

It is vitally important to push new freshmen out of the nest of the freshman dorm. But after the initial weeks of the fall semester, FAME has served its purpose. It seems pointless to have the program extend for as long as it does; students simply become bored and disinterested.

FAME does serve an important purpose. But a more streamlined, shortened program would likely do the job much better.

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