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First-Year: Connecting and Engaging

The Westfield State Experience

The first year of college is an exciting time – new friends, responsibilities and opportunities for engagement!  Westfield State sees the first year as a time of transition and growth. We encourage first-year students to own their college experience from the start. 

We’re here to help you find your place in our diverse and vibrant campus community and to make the most of your Westfield experience.  To develop a close relationship amongst students The Westfield State Experience offers a number of first-year only activities. Let’s take a look at some of the opportunities you can participate in during your first year.

First-Year Courses

Over 40 first-year only courses help you adjust to college life with your peers, and provide opportunities for building connections with other first-year students. First year courses are offered across the curriculum in different academic disciplines where you can be in the classroom with other first-year students only.

Faculty who teach these courses are trained to work with first-year students, taking time in class to discuss issues of particular concern to students transitioning to college. You’ll soon come to see your first year only classes as a place where you can ask questions and feel comfortable knowing that your peers are glad you asked!


A GO-2 is simply what we all know it means – your go-2 person. Connected to the first-year only courses, a designated employee is available to you from the first day, and is your first connection to someone on campus who will get to know you, answer any questions that may come up, and be available as a resource throughout the first semester and beyond. You will meet your GO-2 in one of your first-year only classes. Your GO-2 will help you navigate advising, registration, housing, campus events, culture, and more to make the most of your academic and student life.

The First-Year READ

The Westfield State Experience starts before you even arrive on campus because in the summer, we’ll let you know the title of the First-Year READ. The first-year read is a book selected to be read by all first-year students. 

You’ll talk about this book in one or more of your classes in the fall and you will have the opportunity to attend lectures and demonstrations related to the book all semester long. These special sessions are an additional way for you to meet other students and engage with faculty from a variety of disciplines.  Towards the end of the fall semester, you will have the chance to meet with and discuss the book with the author when he/she visits the campus to meet exclusively with students! 

One of the best things about the First-Year READ is it can be an instant conversation starter with your first-year classmates – just ask “What’d you think about the First-Year READ?” - and your new friendship has begun!

Emerging Leaders

Being part of the Emerging Leaders Program will help prepare you for civic engagement and leadership. An emphasis is placed on learning the life skills and professional competencies needed to become confident and ready for life after college through a specialized series of workshops and activities. Being an Emerging Leader will help connect you with other students outside the classroom and engage at a deeper level with the university and students.

Faculty in Residence

Two faculty members will live on campus to serve as a resource for, and work with first-year students on programs and mentorship. They will live in apartments in the residence halls, and will plan programs for the students in the halls, keep open door office hours and be available as a resource in the residence halls.

The First Six

Make social connections and learn more about college life through a variety of programs offered every day for the first six weeks of the fall semester. The programs will emphasize social connections, education around resources, culture and many other topics. By the end of the first six weeks, you will have had the opportunity to engage in an activity every day!

Alpha Lambda Sigma First-Year Honors Society

Alpha Lambda Sigma is an academic honor society for first-year students who meet the qualifying GPA standard. In the spring, students who qualify are inducted at a formal ceremony attended by faculty, staff and family members.

Clubs and Organizations

If you are looking for like-minded friends or the opportunity to discover a new passion, we have over 70 recreational, social and academic student clubs and organizations! Jump in! During Welcome Week, visit the clubs & organizations fair in Ely to sign up for one, two or more clubs.

These opportunities represent just the beginning of the Westfield State Experience! Each year will offer new opportunities for study abroad, research and creative work, civic engagement, leadership, internships, capstone projects and more!

My First Year Resources »



I live with four roommates from different cultures, which makes cooking interesting. I taught them how to cook southern fried chicken! No matter what I’m doing at Westfield State—biology club or neuroscience club, aerobics, mixed martial arts, peer mentoring, volunteering—there’s always someone I’m happy to see who is happy to see me, too.