In the sixth episode of Questions, Commons & Concerns (QCC), marketing assistants at University Student Commons and Activities interviewed students of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to explore the RAM CAMP experience.

QCC S01E06 Transcript:

Brian Donovan: Welcome to Questions, Commons & Concerns at VCU, an initiative by University Student Commons and Activities. Questions, Commons & Concerns is a series where we ask students, faculty and staff about their thoughts regarding current events, hot topics or fun subjects relevant to the University community.

Donovan: This is Brian Donovan, host of Questions, Commons & Concerns. Today’s episode will explore VCU’s annual, week-long leadership experience, RAM CAMP. RAM CAMP is a free program designed to introduce incoming freshmen to campus resources, fellow Rams, and VCU traditions. Volunteer VCU upperclassman student leaders, in conjunction with university faculty and staff, work to provide a welcoming environment for all incoming students to create connections, develop leadership skills, and show new Rams everything VCU has to offer.

Donovan: We asked incoming VCU students, and student leaders, how their RAM Camp experience has been thus far.

:: Ok, so it’s been really fun. Everything that I’ve been able to do has been a lot of fun. We have two great leaders and we’ve been doing a lot of fun activities so far. So we did go-karting and they did hiking and climbing one day which seemed pretty awesome. They’re keeping us our toes while also including leadership and involvement in everything that we do like, we played a game of dodgeball and they taught us about leadership from the dodgeball, so that was kind of interesting how they roped that together. It’s been an overall great experience, glad I did it.

:: It’s been really exciting, been able to meet a lot of awesome people. The leaders are fantastic, been able to really get the full campus experience and getting to know Richmond and the area and stuff more.

:: Tiring. My voice is gone, but it’s definitely been a fun experience seeing all kinds of people from different parts of Virginia and the U.S. It’s been amazing. The staff is pretty fun and nice so it’s been really, really, really fun.

:: Basically, RAM CAMP to me, is a great opportunity not just for me, but for these freshmen. I did RAM CAMP in 2015 when it was only three hundred strong. It was all of us doing things together and I really met my first friends there. I met the people that I needed to help me get where I am today.

:: As a leader, it’s been really great to give back to my school and leave a legacy. This year, I actually have three of my campers from last year that are leaders, and that’s probably the best feeling ever to see them here and leading their own groups.

Donovan: We also wanted to know what everyone’s favorite experience has been while attending RAM CAMP.

:: I really liked one of the ladies from the health center came and talked to us, and she was really funny. She was just talking to us about mindfulness and just taking second to step back and think about things when they happen, instead of overreacting and jumping to conclusions. I just really thought that was a cool thing to learn about.

:: Hiking to Belle Isle, that was a lot of fun.

:: My favorite part was probably last night, we were doing this game called “Cross The Line.” Basically, when my instructor asked us a question, it could’ve been like a deep question, and we had to cross the line if it applied to us. I think it was just good because I got to know people in my group better personally, on a personal level. So, that was really fun for me and very informative.

:: It would honestly have to be what we just did, it was rock climbing.

:: Probably the group bonding activities.

:: My favorite part has been the leadership activities and bonding with my group.

:: So far, my favorite experience has been — it’s been our little bike ride this morning, honestly. It was really peaceful. It was nice to just relax and just talk to all the students and get to see the city with them.

Donovan: All of these activities sound awesome. Would you recommend getting involved with RAM CAMP to future incoming students or upperclassmen looking to give back?

:: Yes, I would definitely recommend RAM CAMP because it’s like — it lets you integrate yourself more into VCU and your student population.

:: I think it’s more beneficial if you do RAM CAMP because you start learning more about VCU, being a leader and you know, you start making more friends. So, once the year comes around, you’re just kind of ready to go in.

:: Yes, I would definitely recommend RAM CAMP. It’s been a really good experience.

:: Very much so because not only do you get to move in early, you get to get used to the campus. And then, you kind of get to bond with some upperclassmen. You have an extra source to ask a question. Instead of having to go to an advisor or something as formal as a counseling area, you can shoot them a quick text like, ‘Hey, I want to go online and look up for this, but I don’t know where to go. Can you help me?’ or ‘I’m having troubles with my roommate, did this ever happen to you? How did you do it?’ — All that kind of stuff, so it’s a really good resource.

:: Yes, RAM CAMP is honestly the best experience. I know the campus now, I made friends before school even started and it’s lit.

:: For sure, yeah. It’s a good way to get used to the campus and meet new people.

:: Most definitely. I know people that want to come here next year. I’ll tell anybody that I know that wants to come here next year, ‘You should do it, it’s awesome.’ If I could be a part of it next year as a leader, that’d be even cooler. So, it’s something that I would definitely recommend to anybody.

:: Oh absolutely. Please, if you love VCU at all, you should definitely become a leader. It’s an awesome experience.

:: Oh yes, I totally recommend being a leader. It is a lot of work, but it’s worth it. You can see the growth that your students have in just the first few months of school. You can see them really start finding their niche, finding their friends. You know, where they belong. Even if it’s not with who they started RAM CAMP with, they still lean on eachother after that, so it’s really worth it. And you grow with these upperclassmen as other leaders.

Donovan: Finally, we were curious what students were looking forward to most this upcoming year.

:: I guess new opportunities. I’m part ELP, so I’m hoping that that will kind of get me more involved with the program side of things. I’m nervous about classes, but I want to find out more about programs and kind of get involved and not just be here to work.

:: Joining student organizations and getting involved.

:: What I’m looking forward to is — I guess, getting into the culture at VCU and making friends, but also getting to have classes that I choose, more than like in highschool. I had to do math all year long, rather than I can do it a semester here.

:: School, honestly. Being able to study things I enjoy.

:: Well, I’m most excited to see people who I grew up with who I know is going here. Already in RAM CAMP, I’ve met people who I haven’t seen in years who I grew up with. So just seeing them and meeting new people, that’s — I feel like that should be the main thing that every person should be looking forward to.

:: Meeting new people, for the most part. Being away from home. Something different.

:: I’m mostly looking forward to living in Richmond and just being in the city and getting involved.

:: I think it would have to be all the sporting events, because I’m trying to go and support all my Rams.

Donovan: RAM CAMP sounds like an amazing experience for both the campers and student leaders alike. There is only a small part of the incoming class each year that is able to attend RAM CAMP. This year, RAM CAMP was 700 Rams strong. If you’d like a chance to attend next year, or to be a part of the student leadership team, be sure to get your application in early. Visit ramcamp.vcu.edu for additional information and resources.

Donovan: As this is our first podcast of the new school year, I’d like to wish everyone good luck this year, from our team to you. This has been Questions, Commons & Concerns at VCU, brought to you by University Student Commons and Activities. If you have a question or topic you would like covered, email us at contactUSCA@vcu.edu. Thank you for listening.

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