(FYE) First Year Encounter Program logo, Community and solidarity in the spirit of Dorothy Day

A week of community, solidarity and service

Each year, the Office of Campus Ministry welcomes incoming first-year students to be a part of First-Year Encounter (FYE). FYE offers students opportunities to encounter our local community through service work and campus life through evening recreation and activities. Students will learn about Elms College’s mission and values, and focus on serving the “dear neighbor” in the spirit of our founders, the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

Students volunteer at sites during the day, and enjoy social events and reflection in the evening.  Daily reflection is at the heart of the FYE program, and provides students with opportunities to ponder the people they have met, the stories they have heard and the social realities they have encountered. Student leaders facilitate the group’s experience and help new students adjust to college life.

The FYE Service Program is a wonderful opportunity for first-year students to arrive on campus a week before the start of the academic year, meet members of their class, and become acquainted with the campus and the college community, all while learning about the social realities of the local community through service immersion. FYE enables students to acclimate to college, meet staff and faculty, and meet new classmates.  The program provides leadership opportunities and builds confidence as students step into their college career.

In the spirit of a Catholic social activist, Dorothy Day (1897-1980), who served people experiencing marginalization by providing food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, and hospitality to all, students are invited to participate in a week-long service experience designed to introduce the values of the Sisters of St. Joseph and to inspire a commitment of living in solidarity with the “dear neighbor” while being active advocates for social change. Students volunteer and serve alongside Sisters of St. Joseph and other non-profit personnel at local social service organizations.

The FYE program benefits both the civic community and ministries founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph.  Over the years, students participating in the program have changed the landscape for some of the most vulnerable in our communities, while grasping a deeper understanding of the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and the college’s mission.

Group of 3 at a gym

The cost of the week-long program is $125 and covers housing, food, program activities, and evening events.

We invite you to be a part of First-Year Encounter as we work together in our community to cultivate social justice and to experience a “revolution of the heart” as you begin your journey at Elms College!

Important Information to Remember:

  • First-Year Encounter will take place from Monday, August 28 to Friday, September 1, 2023
  • FYE Student Participant Applications are due on Friday, July 14, 2023
  • Cost: $125.00 (Limited partial scholarships are available. Please contact the Office of Campus Ministry to learn more.)
  • Residence Halls Move-In: All participants of FYE live on campus for the length of the Program. Move-in takes place on Monday, August 28th. Residential students will move in to their assigned rooms for the academic year. Commuter students will be assigned a temporary room for the length of the program and will move out on Friday, September 1st.
  • Campus Ministry will contact you directly and notify you upon acceptance to FYE. Details will be sent to accepted students.
  • Please contact the Office of Campus Ministry via campusministry@cherryplumcreations.com or (413) 265-2468 with any questions.