Wandering BYU campus with more than 31,000 students can be overwhelming.
Y Groups can alleviate the fear of being lost and confused by introducing students to “the BYU experience” for the first time.
“Y Groups integrate students into college life,” said Suzanne Kolar, the 1998 Y Group leader coordinator. “It covers the spiritual and social aspects of college life and helps students feel comfortable right off so they can adapt a lot better.”
New BYU students will attend new student orientation activities together. They can interact with each other while enjoying a barbecue and games.
Additional Y Group activities throughout the week include a program entitled “Arise for Honor,” which will focus on committment to BYU’s honor code, a Friday Night Extravaganza featuring a dance and the comedy troupe The Garrens and a multimedia program Saturday evening in the Marriott Center.
Y Groups present an opportunity for students to meet new friends who share the same anxieties, fears and questions of coming to a new school and to have their questions answered in group discussions.
Each group consists of 30 to 40 new freshmen or transfer students and two group leaders.
Willow Roud, from Princeton, N.J., double majoring in Spanish and Elementary Education, said she had a great experience in her Y Group.
“I think everybody should do it,” Roud said.
In addition to learning about the options BYU offers, Roud said she met a lot of people in her Y Group; that made her feel like she wasn’t alone on campus.
Y Group leaders are not just thrown into new student orientation cold. Leaders attend a three-day conference at Aspen Grove, which helps them prepare to make a new student’s first experience memorable.
Todd Hendricks, a senior from Soda Springs, Idaho, majoring in history, said he had a bad experience in his first Y Group.
“My group leaders should have gotten prizes for being big diseases,” Hendricks said. “They were awful. That is why I decided to become a Y Group leader. Nobody should have to endure the oppressive group leaders I had.”
Hendricks has been a Y Group leader three times and is now on the New Student Orientation team.
Hendricks said he would recommend Y Groups to everyone because they instill a sense of community and they make the BYU experience comprehensible.
Kolar said, “Being a Y Group leader is a good opportunity to serve and give back to the campus community.”