Scoot, scoot, splash — a flotilla of paddle boards and a kayak launched from a rocky beach into Spanish Creek one hot afternoon last week when several Feather River College students met to learn what their new community has to offer in the way of outdoor adventures.
Laughter echoed from the participants still on shore when group leader Alec Leonardini, a sophomore from Sacramento, plunged into the cold creek and came up floating on his back like an otter, minus a paddle craft. “Whew!” he said, smiling back at his new friends. “Come on in.”
The outing was one of five events offered Aug. 21 through 25 as part of the annual FRC “Week of Welcome” program. Fun, sun, pizza, movies and music were just part of the excitement — bowling, tacos and water sports were included, too; everything a student could want before settling into their studies and culminating in a free concert by the local band Lumbercat.
“I think these events serve the valuable purpose of connecting students with each other, the college and the community,” said Jeff Lewis, FRC’s student engagement ambassador. “They get to know the area while being exposed to some of the unique things FRC and Quincy have to offer. And our Friday concert is always open to the whole community, so Quincy gets a chance to meet the students as well.”
The college hosts its welcome events with help from a dedicated group of volunteer student ambassadors who want their fellow classmates to feel a part of campus life and the local community. Lewis works closely with his cadre of ambassadors to design a welcoming program with something for everyone. Catering by Quincy restaurants also introduces the students to local menus from popular spots like The Knook, Round Table, Pangaea and more.
Commenting on the success of the events and this year’s student orientation, which brought out a record 260 students Aug. 18, Chief Student Services Officer Carlie McCarthy said, “The biggest benefit for students is the positive experience of being welcomed into the FRC family of more than 800 students and having a fun way to become part of the Quincy community. And food. Food’s always a hit!”
The rewards are tangible for newcomers.
“These Week of Welcome events are great!” said Hailey Rogers, a freshman from Laguna Hills in Orange County. She is studying early childhood education so she can teach preschool.
Smiling and buckling up her personal floatation device for a wobbly ride on a bright yellow paddleboard, she had just finished helping other students sign their waiver forms for the creekside outing.
“The college makes a special effort to let us know what’s going on and what’s available — they have an FRC app that I really like,” Rogers said. “The orientation was great, and they put notes on our doors so we knew about all these things to do. This has helped me to get connected with the Christian Club and the community in general. It’s an awesome way to get plugged in. I mean, living in Orange County, if you’re a stranger, no one says ‘hi’ to you, it’s just not done. Here — everyone does.”