Bruno helps new warhawks adapt at Freshman Connection


IT’S TIME TO CONNECT: Dr. Nick Bruno talks to freshman at last week’s Freshman Connection hosted by The Wesley Foundation photo by Prajal Prasai

Kandace Moss, [email protected]

Academic work should come first in college, but it is important to have fun.

That was the message President Nick Bruno had for the incoming freshmen at last week’s Freshman Connection.

The Wesley, an on-campus Christian ministry, hosted multiple fun activities, such as kayaking and speeches from representatives of recognized student organizations and faculty for this year’s Freshman Connection.

These weekly events during the fall semester were designed by the director and pastor of the Wesley Foundation, Alan Johnson, as a way for freshmen to connect with other freshmen, get involved in campus life and learn more about the Wesley.

Shanta Pokharel, a freshman computer science major, said the Freshman Connection events have helped him form relationships with people he would have never met outside of the Wesley.

“I’ve met other international freshmen and American freshmen, and now we are friends,” Pokharel said.

Pokharel said it was hard to meet people when he first arrived in Monroe, but Freshman Connection made it easier to connect with other ULM students.

In addition to connecting with other first-time freshman, students are given the opportunity to listen to faculty members’ advice and ask them questions about academic and campus life.

During President Bruno’s speech, he told the freshmen his educational background and what made him want to become a president of a small university.

“ULM may not be the biggest university in Louisiana, but we are the most diverse,” Bruno said.

Bruno said the diversity of ULM makes presidency worth his while.

At the end of his speech, he strongly advised the new students to spend their first half of the semester completely devoted to their academics.

“You come here to graduate and further your career,” Bruno said, reminding the students.

After his address, Bruno opened the floor for questions, and many of the students took this opportunity to learn more from the university president.

Lauren Barry, a senior kinesiology major, wished Freshman Connection would have been around when she was a freshman so she would have had the chance to connect with other people.

Barry, who now volunteers for Freshman Connection, said the events are catered for freshmen students, but she connected with faculty through Freshman Connection. 

“Because I helped with Freshman Connection last year, I was able to get car help from the director of police, Tom Torregrossa,” Barry said. 

Torregrossa spoke at last year’s Freshman Connection about safety and offered help to anyone who needed it.

Barry never thought she would ever have to use the number, but it came in handy when her car broke down five minutes away from campus. 

She felt like she had a “senior connection” through Freshman Connection.