Aggie Passport gives students incentive to have full campus experience

The Aggie Passport Experience, a program to expose Utah State University students to the many cultural, academic and social events on campus, has seen tremendous growth in its third year. Noelle Call is director of USU Retention and Student Success. Her office has joined the President’s office to sponsor the program. “We encourage those having events to list them as passport events,” said Call. “The first year we had 25 events and this year we had 35 events that students could choose from. We look for events that have diversity in them, more cultural and academic. We don’t do athletic events although one year we did include women’s volleyball. “Also we look for events that students don’t ordinarily seek out that are a tremendous value on campus and an opportunity that they don’t realize they have right before them.” The idea for the passport program grew from a breakfast hosted by President Stan Albrecht and his wife, Joyce. “Student leaders at the breakfast were talking about the wonderful events on campus, events that students don’t attend. They told President Albrecht the only students attending were the ones that actually put on the event. Dr. Albrecht challenged our office to come up with something and another staff member, Dr. Jim Davis, said he had heard of a program that might work at USU.” Call said Joyce Albrecht made a commitment that day to help with the new program. “She has,” said Call, “she has been on our committee ever since. I searched it out at other schools and came up with a program we thought would work here. The first year we had about 50 students complete the passports and we had a total of 600 stamps. The past fall we stamped 2000.” Students receive passports that are stamped as they attend a sponsored event. Those who attend six to eight of the selected events receive a monetary reward added into their Aggie Express accounts. Those who attend 10 events not only receive the funds in their accounts but also an invitation to a formal dinner at the home of the President. “Students who have taken advantage of the program are honest in admitting they would not have gone to these events without the passport but that they plan to continue them on,” said Call. “We have learned of some students taking family members who are visiting the campus to places like the Anthropology Museum and so many others. “We think it changes behavior and provides a chance for a much richer experience during their time at USU.”

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