The Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) recently formed the Class of 2024 Task Force, which is dedicated to promoting the social and academic experience of the Class of 2024 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea for the task force was initially conceived by WSA senator Hazel Allison-Way ’24, who serves on the WSA’s Student Life Committee.
Along with Allison-Way, WSA Senators Orly Meyer ’24, Sophie Chang ’24, and Marco Bragado ’24 helped to start the task force. Together, they are working to address the concerns of the Class of 2024 and identify ways to connect students with the appropriate resources.
Given the Class of 2024’s unusual start to college amid the pandemic, the task force aims to serve as a helpful resource to improve the student life of the first-year class.
“Some initial things we might tackle are making the WSA a more accessible organization to the first-year population, further connecting the Class of 2024 to the Wes community, and providing students with more detailed information about getting around campus [and] Middletown, both virtually and in real life,” Allison-Way said.
Chang explained that one of the task force’s goals is to make information more accessible to first-year students.
“I know that people have been having a lot of trouble with work-study and just accessing information overall, so that’s something we’re also working on,” Chang said.
Another goal of the task force is to introduce first-years to the WSA.
“A lot of kids don’t really know what the WSA is or what we do,” Bragado said.“The WSA is so responsible for many of the good things that we enjoy at this school.”
The members of the task force also hope to promote more social interaction between first-years through virtual events for the Class of 2024.
“One of the really difficult things right now is the social aspect of college,” Chang added. “I’m sure everyone is feeling very socially deprived—I know I am.”
Bragado echoed Chang’s sentiments.
“It [is important] especially in these times, to integrate freshmen more within the rest of the school, [to] have them feel better and easier during COVID times when they wouldn’t be together very much,” Bragado said.
While Chang believes that there should be more efforts to reach out to first-years, Chang acknowledges that this endeavor will not be easy, particularly for remote students.
“It’s going to be really hard to find some option that will satisfy everyone, especially because there are some students who are remote, so we have to consider them as well,” she said.
In addition to finding ways to accommodate remote students, Allison-Way recognizes that the task force will also need to use creative means to best support the Class of 2024.
“One of the biggest issues facing the Class of 2024 is how distinctly difficult it is to meet people and engage deeply in Wes culture, and there are already many things in place to try to alleviate some of this so trying to come up with new ideas is certainly a challenge,” Allison-Way said.
Regardless of the challenges of instituting such a task force, Allison-Way sees the task force as having the potential to create lasting change.
“I’m hoping that if the task force proves valuable through COVID, a more permanent body situated to address unique first-year needs might be created,” Allison-Way said. “This body could have an emphasis on connecting new students to the WSA and its function on campus.”
The Class of 2024 Task Force members request that first-year students fill out this survey to voice their concerns on student life. Any first-years interested in joining the task force can email Allison-Way at firstname.lastname@example.org and Meyer at email@example.com.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that this task force consists of Allison-Way and WSA Senators Orly Meyer ’24, Sophie Chang ’24, and Marco Bragado ’24. While Allison-Way, Meyer, Chang, and Bragado started the task force other students are also members of the task force.
Rachel Hess Wachman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.