Centre College recently hosted a virtual version of the Centre Compass Program. Designed for incoming first-year Centre students, this typically on-campus leadership training experience helps them maximize their potential as a student leader at Centre.
The one-week, intensive orientation features interactive workshops and activities focused on cultivating such traits as critical thinking, initiative, creative problem solving and communication skills—all the tools necessary to become a successful leader, both on campus and in their professional career beyond.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year Centre moved the program to a virtual format. The program coordinators were Cody Cook, assistant director of admission and scholarship coordinator; Anne Evans, assistant director of admission; and Adriana Martin, assistant director for diversity recruitment.
“The Compass Program has become an integral part of many students’ Centre experience, and we didn’t want to forgo the opportunity this year,” Cook said. “We decided to host the program virtually to give incoming students a chance to enhance their soft skills and make connections before the start of their Centre careers.”
Prior to the program, students were sent packets with various materials for activities to be used throughout the week. They will also receive a follow-up packet upon program completion.
This year, 14 students from eight Kentucky counties and five states participated in the program.
“Despite setbacks due to COVID-19, we were very excited to host the Compass Program virtually this year so that incoming students can begin fostering connections and getting more comfortable with Centre and the resources available to students,” Cook added. “COVID-19 has increased the anxiety of our incoming students even more so than usual, and we hope that this experience helped the participants feel welcome and better prepared as they begin their Centre careers.”
Cook said this is an important opportunity for students not only because the program helps enhance soft skills, but it’s also an amazing opportunity for students to begin fostering close relationships with others.
“Every year, students refer to their cohort as their ‘Compass family,’ and they rely on each other throughout their four years at Centre,” he added. “It’s also a great way to introduce students to various campus resources and to connect them with current students.”
Martin said the benefits of Compass are many, but believes the program does a good job of setting the tone for what the student experience at Centre will be like.
“Students get to engage each other in meaningful conversations, they’re challenged to think critically and to solve problems creatively, and they are encouraged to delight in the intellectual pursuits that bring them joy,” she added. “As an added plus, we’re creating a community of support that they can take with them as they officially start their Centre adventure.
“It has been super important for us at the College to think about creative ways to meaningfully create community with our students,” Martin continued. “Hosting Compass virtually has given us the opportunity to do just that. Now, more than ever, creating connection is vital to student success, so finding a way to host Compass quickly became a priority for us. Though we’ve been socially distant, we’ve still been able to give our students the personal education they deserve.”
Martin would like to extend her gratitude to those who contributed to the work of this year’s program: Cody Cook, Anne Evans, Mindy Wilson and the Center for Career & Professional Development, JK Gonzalez ‘22, Phoenix Staten ‘23, Matt Kowalski ‘23, Andrea Brito ‘22 and Uliana Bazavluk ‘23.
by Kerry Steinhofer
July 23, 2020