LAUNCH FIRST YEAR EATS

About the Community

LAUNCH First Year Eats emphasizes helping college students develop skills related to eating well in the new environment of residence hall living on a college campus: selecting, buying, preparing, storing, and even growing the items needed or wanted for nutritious meals while living in a residence hall. Additional opportunities to learn more about food and combatting hunger in American society are offered. Typical activities include Mug Meal Mondays, Crockpot Fridays, Shopping Healthy excursions, and occasional cooking classes. A “take what you need, eat what you take” pantry is provided in Clements for residents. All participation is optional.

First-year students from any major may participate. First Year Eats includes students from Regents’ Scholars, the LAUNCH Learning Communities (Brownsville Scholars, GTF Aggie Scholars and Century Scholars) and the Office for Student Success First-Generation Learning Communities (ACREW, FOCUS, and Ignite). First Year Eats allows students from different learning communities to mix across those groups and live together.

Students participating in LAUNCH Learning Community programs and the Office for Student Success First-Generation Learning Community programs ease their transition into University life with peer mentorship, leadership experience, and a foundation for a successful undergraduate experience. Review each of the affiliated scholarship programs below for additional eligibility requirements and program components.

Office for Student Success First-Generation Learning Community participants (ACREW, FOCUS, Ignite) are highly encouraged to participate in First Year Eats. It is our belief that participating in First Year Eats, along with a student’s individual learning community, will give them an even greater first year experience. Students will not only get assistance with their academic transition, they will also have access to food, be abreast of proper eating habits, taught important nutritional information, and participate in food related events weekly.

Some LAUNCH: Learning Communities (Brownsville Scholars and GTF Aggie Scholars) are required to live together in First Year Eats. Century Scholars are highly encouraged to do so. Note: University Honors and Terry Scholars live in other locations on campus.

Scholarship Programs

Regents’ Scholars that are receiving an Academic Achievement Scholarship from Texas A&M are members of ACREW First-Generation Learning Community. ACREW allows students to ease into the transition of college by having the support of their peers for the first year. ACREW students are required to live on-campus and strongly encouraged to select First Year Eats.

ACREW students are highly encouraged to live in First Year Eats; ACREW may choose freely among roommates within First Year Eats.

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Be a Regents’ Scholarship recipient; and,
  2. Receive a Texas A&M University merit scholarship.

ACREW is an Office for Student Success First-Generation Learning Community. Learn more!

The Brownsville Scholars program is a freshman learning community in LAUNCH. The goal of Brownsville Scholars is to provide support and resources to help make the transition from high school to college as smooth as possible. The LC includes monthly enrichment activities as well professional development opportunities with the other Brownsville Scholars. Brownsville Scholars serve as ambassadors from TAMU to high schools in Brownsville.

Eligibility and Program Requirements

The Century Scholars Program is a four-year holistic learning program that focuses on providing students with resources, professional development opportunities, and tight-knit social groups to help combat the challenges of the high school-college transition. First-year Century Scholars will meet weekly for a UGST 181 freshman seminar course that puts them in contact with trained upperclassman mentors who will help build community among their mentees and act as valuable resources. Alongside their support networks in their UGST 181 classroom, students in the First Year Eats LLP will live, collaborate, and bond with fellow Century Scholars in a community of their peers and form close connections through the shared Century experience.

Eligibility and Program Requirements

Century Scholars are highly encouraged to live in First Year Eats; Century Scholars may live with members of other learning communities or Regents’ Scholars success programs within First Year Eats.

FOCUS students will deepen their sense of community by discovering commonalities and creating relationships that enhance the first-year experience. LLC programs include cooking family-style meals together, exploring local communities, friendly competitions, and pizza and professors discussions. Students in this LLC live among other Regents’ Scholars who are in similar majors making academic connections and support more likely. The Office for Student Success is on the north side of campus which makes seeking assistance in navigating the first year of college easier as well.

FOCUS is an Office for Student Success First-Generation Learning Community. Learn more!

FOCUS students are highly encouraged to live in First Year Eats; FOCUS may choose freely among roommates within First Year Eats.

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Be a first-year student;
  2. Regents’ Scholarship recipient; and,
  3. Majors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health.

* Other first-generation students may choose to participate in FOCUS when spaces are available.

Program Components:

Howdy Week Events – FOCUS students meet staff and mentors at the New Student Conference Briefing and attend a FOCUS Welcome Workshop and other sponsored activities during Howdy Week so there are familiar faces when classes begin.

Weekly Events – You will participate in all-FOCUS events such as an Etiquette Dinner or Halloween on Ice, meet with your CARE team (small group) for social and learning activities, and take part in community service opportunities.

Professional Staff – FOCUS students have a professional staff to consult when needed. FOCUS students receive access to program-sponsored supplemental instruction, academic coaching, and tutoring.

Required Class – UGST 181 FOCUS Learning Community In-FOCUS Session – discussion and activities centered on Connection, Achievement, Respect, and Exploration that build cultural capital, prompt self-discovery, and develop life and academic skills.

GTF Aggie Scholars are required by their scholarship to live with other GTF Aggie Scholars within First Year Eats.

The Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) Aggie Scholars is a LAUNCH: Learning Community for students that have graduated from an early college high school as defined by Educate Texas. The GTF Aggie Scholars works to provide a sense of community amongst the 40 GTF Scholarship recipients at Texas A&M and provide support during the transition to the University with the help of upper class mentors and the Program Coordinator. GTF Aggie Scholars participate in monthly socials and community service activities, meals together and other bonding experiences.

Eligibility Requirements and Program Components

The goal of the Ignite Learning Community is to assist first generation college students as they adapt to university life. Ignite does this through three avenues. The first being participation in weekly meetings in a classroom setting. During these meetings students will receive resource information, academic success strategies, and personal development opportunities. The second avenue is through peer mentoring. Each Ignite participant is paired with a peer mentor who is also a first generation college student. Peer mentors are a wonderful resource for our students. The third avenue is our out of classroom experiences. Ignite prides itself on building community and connections. Each semester students have the opportunity to get to know one another in a variety of settings. Ignite hosts several events throughout the year; a fall tailgate, study nights, game nights, bowling and laser tag to name a few.

Ignite is an Office for Student Success First-Generation Learning Community. Learn more!

Ignite students are highly encouraged to live in First Year Eats; Ignite may choose freely among roommates within First Year Eats.

Regents’ Scholars that do not have a living-learning program designated by their college and are not already in one of our affiliated scholarship programs are invited to live in First Year Eats to build connections with other Regents’ Scholars (and other scholarship students) across learning communities/success programs.

Eligibility and Requirements

Regents’ Scholars who choose to live First Year Eats may choose freely among roommates within the community.

Building

Roommates

During a specific period of time, students selected for this program will be able to choose a roommate(s) from other students selected for the same Living Learning Community. Students may post profiles within myHousing Portal and view responses by other students to their roommate questionnaire (i.e., sleep schedule, noise, cleanliness, etc.).  Following this specific time period, students will be assigned a room with their requested roommate within the block of rooms designated for the Living Learning Community.

Student Stories

Working with First Year Eats allowed me to expand my versatility in and out of the kitchen; I have gained leadership, time management, and interpersonal skills while being able to work with incoming first year students [as a First Year Eats Mentor]. Ultimately, [this has been] an experience essential for a future leader.

Sergio Belmonte ’22, GTF Aggie Scholar

First Year Eats has made me interact with students from different backgrounds. [As a First Year Eats Mentor], I realized that First Year Eats is not about the food but the interaction between students in order to help each other out in any way possible.

Ashley Amaro ’22, Brownsville Scholar

First Year Eats is an amazing program that has allowed me to be a part of the group that helps college student have a meal for the day. As a resident of Clements hall, not only have I benefited from the program by having gained a great amount of knowledge and experience, but I have also gained some weight from all the food!

Carlos Saldana ’23, Brownsville Scholar, Your Content Goes Here

First Year Eats has allowed me to reflect on the huge amount of hunger insecurities and food scarcity for individuals whom are financially unavailable to support their hunger needs. This program provides these students the opportunity to receive free food in numerous occasions while also giving students the chance to volunteer and give back to others. I have really enjoyed being a part of this program because I have gained various assets that I will use throughout the rest of my life.

Alexandra Gonzalez ’23, GTF Aggie Scholar, Your Content Goes Here

If there’s one way to meet and make new friends [as a Clements resident], it’s to offer college students free food. Those friendships are for a lifetime.

Maricela Escareno ’23, Century Scholar, Your Content Goes Here

The First Year Eats program has provided me with great cooking ideas. As part of the living learning community in Clements hall, I appreciate the First Year Eats program providing us with some snacks and food that can help us start up our day.

Ana Rosales ’23, FOCUS Regents’ Scholar, Your Content Goes Here

Affiliated Faculty and Staff Contact Information

Name Department Email Phone
Dr. Laura Wimberley
Director
LAUNCH: Learning Communities lwimberley@tamu.edu  979.845.1957
Bonnie Davila
Program Coordinator
LAUNCH: Learning Communities bedavila@tamu.edu  979.845.1957