October 1, 1974 · Cavalier Daily

Contact Makes Contact

The newly created Contact information seeks to pair upperclass women with incoming underclass women for social support and networking.


Cavalier Daily Oct 1, 1974 - Contact Makes Contact.pdf
Howard Frost III
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Daily
Contact Makes Contact
With the barrage of mimeographed literature incoming first-yearmen received, there were many who also received letters from upperclassmen through the Contact Program, providing personal touches to the new university.
Initiated last spring by the First-Year Council and the Resident Staff, the Contact program was designed to de-institutionalize the entering process by providing incoming students with the opportunity to meet upperclass students through someone other than their R.A.
Originally, it was conceived that the program would include both first-year men and women students, but due to a lack of application from upperclassmen, it was limited to female contacts only. There now exists a general ratio of one upperclass woman to four first-year women.
According to Barbar Hand, a fourth-year student and Resident Staff Program Assistant, “Contact” is one solution to the problems first-year women encounter getting to known older girls.
Social Structure
“Meeting upperclass women is difficult here because of the social structure,” Miss Hand explained. “During the beginning of their first semester, they are not really involved in intramurals or other extracurricular activities.
“It’s hard for first-year women to meet upperclass women because their association within the dorms and the classroom are mainly with other first-year women,” second year R.A. Ann Silver explained. “Whereas rush is brought to the guys, contact with upperclass girls during rush occurs mostly through a date with an upperclass guy. In addition, it’s often the attitude of upperclass students to shy away from initiating relationships with first-year students.
“College is a combination of the educational experience and the social life. That’s why I really push extracurricular activities with my girls, not only as a way to meet upperclass women, but also as a means of getting involved in University life,” she added.
Miss Hand sees more to the Contact Program than simply the providing an upperclass friend for a first-year girl.
“Upperclass contacts help alleviate the sense of loneliness and isolation which many first-year women feel,” she explained. “It seems that many women, especially first-year women, feel they are dependent on dates for their social life. The Contact Program intends to supplement that existing social option by providing opportunities for first-year and upperclass women to initiate relationships. This way, they can depend on other women for fun -not only on fraternities and dates.
Identity Problems
“Opportunities for first-year women to meet uppercass women are more the exception than the rule,” thirst-year contact Marney McClung commented. “Women shouldn’t have to depend on guys for their identity. Through this program, contacts do more than meet their girls and take them out to dinner,” she added. “they can also help them with problems as an R.A. would, and encourage them to get involved in extracurricular activities.”
Because the program was begun late last spring, upperclass contacts did not receive the names of their first-year women until the end of July. Consequently, many first-year women did not receive letters; either the upperclass contact was not in town to receive the name of her first-year women, or first-year women were not in town to receive the letter from their contact.
Despite this problem, the program so far has “gone well,” according to Miss Hand.
Remarks from first-year women echoed her sentiment. “I was really impressed,” reflected Mary Gallios. “I had heard that this University was so big and unfriendly – it was nice to know that someone was interested in me. It was like the red-carpet treatment.”
“I was very impressed by the outgoing aspects of the program,” Betsy Horton observed. “Although I don’t need someone to watch out for me, it’s nice to have a close upperclass friend to go to with problems.”
“It’s fantastic that my contact would go to the trouble to get to know four first-year girls that she’d never seen,” Cassandra Frye commented.
Most of the first-year women agreed that there were not many available opportunities to meet upperclass women. “I haven’t been able to become close friends with many older girls,” mentioned Ann Patteron. “They all seem to bee off grounds.” First-year women also commented that they wanted to continue their Contact relationship throughout the year. “The Contact relationship is not something you just stop,” Miss Frye explained. “It continues to build naturally.”
Personal Success
Miss Hand speculated that “If 50 per cent of the entering women are written by a contact, the program can be termed a success.” Although the program’s success in numerical terms is fairly assured, its success in personal terms is certain. If changes can be made to get the first-year students names to the contacts earlier and to include entering men, this personal touch to matriculation can be greatly improved. This personal touch is important to first-year students. One girl wrote back to her contact this summer: “Being alone is one thing that worries me. Friends are important, and I don’t want to cut myself off from people. Having a contact is like I have a friend already.”
Date Added July 14, 2015
Date Modifed January 25, 2018
Collection Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination

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