By Emmy Wolfe, Hailey Oskey & Caelyn Jischke
First Phuture Phoenix is in the books with no COVID-19 protocols.
With the first Phuture Phoenix with no COVID-19 protocols in the past, it is time to take a look back at how it went and what has changed since the previous Phuture Phoenix event in 2022. This year was a Phuture Phoenix everyone has been waiting and hoping for. With the past Phuture Phoenix being under COVID-19 protocol, it was nice to have a year where things seemed to be back to normal. Director of Phuture Phoenix, Mary Sue Lavin, commented, “The process was a little different in that we had the fifth graders come in the spring, rather than the fall. If you recall, we were still masking and social distancing in the fall. Schools were not allowing students to ride buses in close quarters, and we literally had no place to put that many students, socially distanced here on campus. The university is also researching and discussing safety measures for minors on campus. Because of this, we asked the classroom teacher to stay with their whole class group instead of allowing fifth graders to take off in small groups with role models. Another big change this year was using the Kress as a kick-off point, rather than the Weidner Center.”
With COVID-19 protocols being changed, fifth-graders were allowed back on campus, making University of Wisconsin-Green Bay students buddies again. For Payton Heinberg, this is his second time being a Phuture Phoenix buddy, “It was a great experience! It is so awesome to get to show people who are excited about campus why I love this place. The energy the fifth-graders bring to campus is unmatched and getting to show them what college is like is a super cool opportunity. Getting to see them light up when walking through buildings was so rewarding and made the whole two-day process worth it!” Heinberg was a tour guide for a group of fifth-graders. “The students that went on the tour expressed that they were amazed at what campus had to offer and that they couldn’t wait to come back another time,” Heinberg added.
Looking back on this Phuture Phoenix, Mary Sue Lavin said, “The campus visit was very successful. We surveyed the role models and the classroom teachers. On a scale of 1-10, we achieved an average score of 7.8. There were many changes this year, and we are working to do a better job of communicating those changes, so there are no surprises for teachers. We had many students talking about going to college and wanting to go to UWGB. We had the students do a classroom activity where they thought about what they were good at and how they could get better at things they liked. This activity was one that the students were able to take home and discuss with family. Probably the most difficult change for this year is that students couldn’t see residence life. We were asked not to bring students into the residence halls. This was early in the planning, so likely due to Covid, but certainly understandable. We did produce a video which all students were invited to watch.”