The lowdown on New Student Throwdown

The program formerly known as FYSem Throwdown has been rebranded as New Student Throwdown.

Kelly Holm, Senior Reporter

For several years, FYSem Throwdown was one of many programs designed to help incoming first-year students acclimate to their Hamline experience. Students had the opportunity to attend numerous designated Throwdown events, and by attending, earn points for their FYSems. At the end of the fall semester, first- and second-place winners were declared for the FYSems that had accumulated the most points. This year, however, for the first time, transfer students have the opportunity to participate in the contest, with the program being rebranded as New Student Throwdown.

“I went to a couple of conferences that were specific to the transfer student experience, and [New Student Programs] started to look for ways that we could incorporate transfer students into the larger university, especially because their time on campus is usually about half the time of your traditional first-year student coming in,” said Becky Kaarbo, Assistant Director of New Student Programs. “This seemed like a good way to just tap them in, and so we looked really strategically not just at the Throwdown program, but all of the programs we were doing for first-year students.”

For example, transfer students were able to attend breakout sessions on topics such as diversity alongside their first-year peers at Piper Passages and will be able to secure early tickets to Hamline’s annual Commitment to Community speech, which is mandatory for first-years.

Transfer students do not have their own equivalent of a FYSem, so New Student Programs divided them up into nine small groups which each contain approximately 14-16 students, about the same as the average FYSem in previous years.

“The majority of [how the students were divided] was based on majors, or areas of interest of study,” Kaarbo said. However, due to Hamline’s rolling-admissions policy, some transfer students were still depositing and registering for classes the weekend before Piper Passages. At that point, NSP’s main focus became making sure the groups were even in size.

First-year and transfer students will not be competing against each other in the Throwdown, however. There are 30 FYSems and 9 transfer groups, and a first and second-place winner will be declared for each category.

“We don’t know if transfers are really going to be interested in the Throwdown or not… and we didn’t want something that’s already established for first-year students and ingrained in the FYSem… to jeopardize the transfer students’ ability to… get the incentive of winning,” Kaarbo said.

Gabe Mianulli, a second-year transfer student, expressed interest in participating in Throwdown events.

“Depending on what time it is, yeah, probably,” Mianulli said.

First-year Zach Branson displayed similar enthusiasm.

“It’s a good way to meet people,” Branson said. “Yesterday I went to an event that was called ‘Suicide: Know the Facts and How to Help’. I think these Throwdown events give people good opportunities to learn life lessons.”

First-prize winners in the Throwdown will be treated to dinner out on the town, with limo transportation, while second-prize winners will receive dinner on campus, delivered by a catering restaurant of their choice.

“Offering something in a new way, even if students choose not to take it, is the first step in them feeling a sense of being welcomed on campus,” Kaarbo said.