By Emmy Wolfe, Caelyn Jischke, & Hailey Oskey
The University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s Phuture Phoenix is back after 2 years!
Phuture Phoenix is an event where fifth graders can come to campus and learn more about the university, what they can learn, and why they should come here. This helps younger students get the chance to see why college is a resource for them. With COVID-19, Phuture Phoenix was not being planned. Now since COVID-19 has lessened, Phuture Phoenix is coming back.
Michelle Wolfe, Phuture Phoenix Program Specialist, commented, “We have had to stay very flexible to adapt to changing conditions and related protocols regarding COVID-19. We are thrilled to be able to invite all of our partnering 5th-grade schools back to campus for an in-person visit – over 1,500 area 5th graders will be joining us over two days.”
Not only is this an opportunity for grade-schoolers to get hands-on experience, but it’s an experience for University of Wisconsin Green Bay students to practice their escort skills. UWGB students seeking an education degree or even just looking for something to do and earn 1 credit can be a travel guide for a Phuture Phoenix group. Megan Wandschneider, who just started student teaching and has helped with Phuture Phoenix in the past, said her favorite part of the event is, “Making connections with local teachers and students and seeing the impact that even one day can do for a student.”
With the new protocols of COVID-19 lifting mask mandates, Michelle Wolfe says that they are expecting the same turnout in years past, “Every district and school that we contacted was thrilled to hear that this inspiring event is back. All of our partner schools are committed to our mission to provide an opportunity for students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds to believe post-secondary education is important, attainable, and available.”
Mallory and Mara Allen, juniors at UWGB, attended Phuture Phoenix in 5th grade when they went to a school in Oconto. Mallory looked back on her field trip and said, “I remember thinking how beautiful UWGB’s campus was. I loved how it’s so secluded and tranquil, almost like its own little city. Everyone here was so welcoming, and being a student there seemed so fun.” Mallory added, “For years after attending Phuture Phoenix, middle-school me was confident that I was going to go to college at UW-Green Bay. During high school, I toured other universities and even considered choosing a different school. But at the end of the day, all the time I’d spent and experiences I’d had at UWGB, from doing Phuture Phoenix to attending dozens of women’s basketball games to participating in GB summer camps, helped me make that decision. UWGB felt like home.” Mara recalls her Phuture Phoenix experience, “I fell in love with UWGB when I visited Phuture Phoenix. I felt like I belonged here the moment I stepped off the bus and was brought around campus. The student tour guides did an excellent job of showcasing why UWGB is such a great place.”
Phuture Phoenix event can give a classroom experience. Megan Wandschneider said that Phuture Phoenix taught her classroom skills like, “Being flexible, because you never know the dynamic of students you will get and their background regardless of home life, etc. (I can learn) How to educate while having fun and providing experiences, not just academics.”
Wolfe said, “I am most excited that we are going to be able to bring students back to campus in-person to experience a university setting.” Phuture Phoenix is a way for students to find their homes early in life. Mara said, “Even though I was 11 or 12, I just had a feeling that I would call this place home in the future, which is kind of crazy to think about now.”