The first few days of college can be a daunting experience for first-time freshmen. Camp Trulaske is designed to ease the transition into college for students entering the Trulaske College of Business as freshmen. Looking back, some of the students who took part in the inaugural camp said it was a valuable experience they were glad they joined.
“Camp Trulaske provides a unique opportunity for our freshman to interact with one another in a relaxing environment chocked full of activities designed to spark friendships and to understand what it means to be a business student,” said Mary Beth Marrs, associate dean for undergraduate programs & strategic initiatives. “Our faculty and staff were incredibly enthusiastic to be a part of the experience as well, and now, when these students have questions regarding navigating their time at Mizzou, they know who to contact and are comfortable doing so.”
Elliot DeNard, Peyton Newman and Lindsey Pelosi represent three of the 151 campers who started their college lives a week early at the four-day camp. All three first heard of the camp during Summer Welcome and realized it was an opportunity to meet other incoming freshmen entering the same program. The small size and networking opportunities were most appealing.
“I loved getting to start college with a group of 150,” Elliot, from Flossmoor, Ill., said.
Lindsey said she was persuaded by camp director Jordyn Gier. Five Trulaske upperclassmen, including Lead Directors Jordyn and Adam Gentry and Directors Brennan Rausch, Megan Conrad and Anthony Lupo, led 32 student counselors and the incoming students through several teambuilding experiences at Wonderland Camp in the Lake of the Ozarks. The activities included a mix of fun and games as well as guest lectures from faculty and staff from the college.
“Having the faculty come made me realize that these people are here to help you,” Lindsey, from the St. Louis area, said. “They want you to do well in college.”
The experience was valuable for freshmen beginning to think about the academic paths they want to pursue. Peyton, who is from Ballwin, Mo., said he is interested in leadership, and attending Camp Trulaske helped him break the ice with other students.
“Camp Trulaske helped me get out of my shell,” Peyton said. “I was glad I met all these people, and got to form this little community within a bigger community.”
Elliot agreed that the camp helped him navigate the first week.
“It really made coming to this big college a little smaller,” he said.
“We developed Camp Trulaske because we wanted our business freshmen to feel a deeper connection with the Trulaske College of Business and Mizzou,” said Ajay Vinzé, dean of the Trulaske College of Business. “We are here for our students and we are focused on their career preparation and academic success. We want students to get a sense of that right out of the gate.”
The biggest takeaway, all agreed was the networking opportunity, not just with fellow freshmen, but with the upperclassmen counselors and directors, as well as the faculty and staff who visited the camp.
“Camp Trulaske is the best way to start off your campus experience,” said Elliot, who was voted Most Valuable Camper. “If you’re nervous about coming to a big campus, it is the best way to break starting college down into experiences that you can handle.”
For Trulaske faculty and the student directors, the goal of introducing students to college life at Mizzou was accomplished.
“One of the students mentioned to me that it was great to walk into class and see some of his Camp Trulaske friends,” Mary Beth said. That’s when he said he understood what Camp Trulaske was all about: creating his Mizzou family.”