College Access to reignite Entrada relationships through social events


College Access Programs

Entrada has helped build friendships since 1991.

One of the highlights of Rachel Melville’s time in the Entrada program in 1997 was developing connections with other students who had comparable life and academic experiences. 

“I went to Entrada as a junior in high school,” Melville, the assistant director of College Access Programs at Calvin, told Chimes. “All of the people I went with have a special place in my heart and not just my memories.”

Nearly two decades later, Melville is on a mission to rekindle connections for current Entrada alumni on campus through social events designed to help students engage with one another on campus after their official Entrada experiences are over.

“The goal with the meetups, mixers and the different things we are trying to accomplish now is wanting to rekindle the whole experience for people and to remind them that there are people out there who see you and know you, because sometimes you need that,” said Melville. 

The Entrada Scholars program gives incoming high school juniors and seniors a chance to have a university experience while earning college credit prior to their actual college years. Entrada, which began in 1991, consists of a summer intensive course, as well as social events all while students experience on-campus living.

Rosalba Ramirez, director of College Access Programs, hopes the events will increase Entrada’s visibility on campus and help connect Entrada alumni. 

Melville is taking the lead onbringing these events to life, with the help of student employees, staff at College Access Programming and Entrada alumni. “I’m using talent wherever I can … I’m using whoever will be willing to be involved. I got word of mouth coming from every Entrada student I can ask. I’m all about using everybody,” said Melville. 

One of the students helping Melville is Michelle Charles, a first-year student who works for College Access Programs and who is a 2021 Entrada alum. For Charles, these events serve as an opportunity to keep the essence of the program alive. “Entrada is a shared experience and shared experiences bring people closer together,” said Charles. “Our goal at College Access is to keep those relationships alive because during this program everyone is experiencing everything for the first time.”

Though professional networking opportunities are being planned for future events, Melville says the present purpose of the events is to create a comfortable and safe environment where students can be their authentic selves and let their hair down. “Sometimes you just are able to connect and have fun and just say hi … you don’t have to stay long and you’re not on to give a presentation. You can just be yourself,” said Melville. Melville also hopes that alumni from later years will join current alumni for these more casual events. 

Entrada alumni are encouraged to use the opportunity to reconnect with their peers and to step outside of their comfort zones in order to reignite their bonds. “What’s the risk? What’s the risk in saying hi? … It’s not meant to be a commitment, it’s just to say ‘I see you, I remember this, we’re here.’” 

The first event took place digitally on Zoom on Friday, Jan. 28 with the next event planned for Feb. 18. Future event information can be found on the Calvin website through the events calendar as well as the QR code shown on numerous campus posters.