TRiO Student Support Services hit the road


This archived article was written by: Nate Gutierrez

Twenty-four TRiO Student Support Services students toured the University of Utah and Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in February.
Academic advisor Gina Farnelli; administrative assistant Taren Powell; driver Tanner Hackney; tutor mentors, Riley Crismore and Nate Guiterrez accompanied the participants. They said the students gained new experiences, career connections and stories for a lifetime.
The students traveled to the University of Utah where they were met by admissions counselor, Rayshawn Carr. U of U student ambassadors provided a campus tour and discussed the Utes being part of the PAC-12 Conference and ranked in many sports. They told the students to watch out for the Utes come March Madness.
The U’s library has many resources and is the hangout for students, providing silent and social areas. There are also rooms with glass walls, allowing students spaces to write and work together. Light is no problem either, with skylights bringing in natural light to the bigger rooms.
Everyone agreed that the Heritage Dining Hall had amazing food choices available. The meals were based on where the food originated including an expansive salad bar, dessert options and many choices. The dining hall felt less like a college cafeteria and more like eating at a restaurant, with meals costing about $8.
With any bigger campus, knowing where to park and which campus shuttle to take is useful. The shuttles are bumpy, but go quickly from stop to stop. The students thought it is nice that they can catch a UTA bus (or TRAX) from campus, should you need to travel downtown or elsewhere.
The second stop was the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium at the Draper location. Students watched the 4D film, Nature’s Wonderland: Galapagos. It combines 4D and real-life effects. The group felt the bluster of wind, the spray of water, the crashing of waves and the rumbles of erupting volcanoes.
There were many amazing exhibits at the aquarium, but the Eastern group enjoyed the Gentoo penguin and river otter feedings, watching the antics of the otters, petting starfish and stingrays and the massive shark tunnel tank that allowed them to watch a menagerie of species swim over.
While the main focus of the exhibits was largely animals from far off locations, the students liked the exhibit showcasing the animals native to Utah. Students learned a great deal of information and maybe even a few majors were turned.
The students’ learning agenda was a record of their most memorable moment, what they learned and it was used as a raffle ticket for prizes from the U of U and aquarium. Raffle winners were: Destani Barnes, Lindsey Elias and Dakota Noyes.
SSS is a program with the goal to aid first-generation college student’s matriculation, overall learning experiences, retention and graduation.
This trip and similar activities shape the cultural and social component essential to SSS programs, providing students opportunities to expand their cultural, social and academic abilities as they broaden their horizons.
Stop by the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center in office 225 and meet the friendly staff to learn about its program and services.