First-Year Forums

Learning in college isn’t just inside the classroom, and that’s why Kalamazoo College offers the First-Year Forum program series for all first-year students during their fall term.

First-Year Forums are programs (usually 1-2 hours in length) offered throughout the fall term on topics important for first-year students (time management, study abroad/away, personal safety, civic engagement in Kalamazoo, career planning, and more!). These engaging programs are facilitated by faculty, staff, and sometimes even upper-class students.

First-year students are required to attend one program in each of five different categories:

  • Social Justice and Civic Engagement
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Personal Decision Making and Habits
  • Career and Professional Development
  • Academic Success and Independent Scholarship

Multiple unique programs are offered throughout the quarter in each of the five categories, so students can pick and choose what programs to attend based on their interest and schedule.

Forum attendance is logged as part of the First-Year Seminar grade. If students do not attend at least one Forum in each group, two percentage points for each Forum missed will be deducted from the final Seminar grade.

First-Year Forum: Speed Friending- Consent, Relationships, and Boundary Setting

Hicks Banquet Room

Join student group SPEAK (Sexual Peer Education Alliance at K) for a night of “speed friending”! This interactive program will give participants the opportunity to meet lots of new people while discussing topics of consent and the different aspects of giving and getting it. Come and explore an important topic while also making friends and having fun.

FYF Group 3

First-Year Forum: Climate Action Plan

Dewing 103

Did you know that K has a sustainability and climate action plan? Come learn about K’s commitment to carbon reduction, what progress has been made on K’s climate action plan, and how you can join in this movement!

FYF Group 1

First-Year Forum: Career? I Just Got Here!

Hicks Banquet Room

We know that thinking about Life After K can be intimidating, but did you know that college students who visit their career center are more likely to get a job upon graduation than their peers who don’t? During this interactive session, you will learn about the many resources available to you through K’s Career Center, and why engaging often with us matters, especially in your first year. Six dates, same program.

FYF Group 4

First Year Forum Community Reflection: KDesi & Diwali

Stetson Chapel

Join K’s South Asian student organization for a celebration of the Festival of Lights and a focus on what Desi-identifying students at K are up to this fall.  First Year Forum

First-Year Forum: Getting the Hang of IT

Hicks Banquet Room

What can Office 365 do for me? What is the story with printing in the Library? Teams, Stream, Moodle, Webmail? Information Services wants to answer your questions and provide you with insight on navigating technology at K. Spend less time frustrated and more time taking advantage of College resources to support your success. We’re here to help! Two dates, same program.

FYF Group 5

First-Year Forum: Redistricting and Gerrymandering

Hicks Banquet Room

Join K Votes to examine the redistricting process in Michigan and learn more about gerrymandering. This is a topic that many voters do not have knowledge of or do not consider, and learning about how it may be impacting you is crucial. Learn about how redistricting is impacting your vote and your voice plus ways that you can directly become involved in the process.

FYF Group 1

First-Year Forum: Balancing Our Stress Response Through Body Work

Hicks Banquet Room

How does stress effect the body? Stress effects all areas of the body. It can cause our heart rate to increase, or muscles to tense up, our breathing may become shallow. Our bodies are well equipped to handle stress in small doses, however when stress becomes long-term (as was the case for most of us during the COVID-19 pandemic), it can leave us feeling stuck in fight, flight, or freeze mode. Though this is a natural response, being stuck in this mode can lead to: difficulty sleeping, feeling uneasy, difficulty focusing, and fatigue. The main objective of this session is to have fun learning relaxation and coping techniques to reduce the impact of stress on our bodies.

FYF Group 3

First-Year Forum: You Don’t Know Me Until You Know Me

Arcus Center

Guest presenter Dr. Mykee Fowlin takes the audience on an experiential journey, having them reexamine core precepts that were taught to us from as early as 1st grade. He uses humor, performance art, poetry, storytelling, psychology, theatrical monologues, and his personal journey to create a moving experience for all who are open to this evolution. The event will include a light dinner for attendees.

FYF Group 2

First-Year Forum: Cybersecurity- Protecting the Digital Hive

Dewing 103

Is that email really from the Help Desk? Do I really need antivirus? Do I even have anything that a hacker would want? We will answer these questions and more, as well as provide information to help you protect your privacy, your identity, your computer, your homework, your college, and more. Two dates, same program.

FYF Group 5

First-Year Forum: Pathways at K- New Opportunities in Experiential Learning

Dewing 103

The Pathways Program at Kalamazoo College began in 2019 and was developed by students, faculty, and staff as part of a Mellon Foundation Grant. This program, based in experiential learning, allows students the opportunity to ground their experiences at K around a theme or issue. Through praxis, students will cultivate an interdisciplinary, critical understanding of systems, will reflect on their personal identity and place within these systems, and will develop their agency and abilities to act effectively on and in these systems.

FYF Group 1

First-Year Forum: MiKroaggressions

Hicks Banquet Room

What are microaggressions? Microaggressions are commonplace verbal or behavior indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults that target a person or group of people (Sue, 2004). The main objective of this session is to raise awareness of microaggressions and how they impact the daily lives people who are not in the dominant group. Strategies for addressing microaggressions will also be discussed and practiced. We hope participants will leave the session with increased knowledge, awareness, and a commitment to being an active participant in decreasing the occurrences of microaggressions in our community.

FYF Group 2

First-Year Forum: Giving, Receiving, and Communicating Consent

Hicks Banquet Room

Do you know what consent means, and when to use it? How to get and give consent? Join SPEAK (Sexual Peer Education Alliance at K) to discuss the inter-workings of consent and how it plays a role into our day to day lives! Engage in conversations of how to communicate with your partner(s) about sex and relationships.

FYF Group 3

First-Year Forum: Career? I Just Got Here!

Dewing 103

We know that thinking about Life After K can be intimidating, but did you know that college students who visit their career center are more likely to get a job upon graduation than their peers who don’t? During this interactive session, you will learn about the many resources available to you through K’s Career Center, and why engaging often with us matters, especially in your first year. Six dates, same program.

FYF Group 4