The Center for American Indian Studies at Black Hills State University is using grant funds to host a five-day intensive outreach program for American Indian students to make the transition to university life easier.

The program is a transitional camp that provides the opportunity for students to participate in a coordinated orientation week that will include social activities, introduction to first year general education courses, individual meetings with faculty members, and upper class American Indian students to discuss various degrees and career options. The BHSU program will begin Aug. 25 and continue through the first day of classes Aug. 30.

The Center for American Indian Studies received a grant from the American Indian Education Foundation and support from BHSU to host the intensive orientation program. The Bridge Program is geared towards American Indian high school graduates that are entering college for the first time.

“The Bridge Program was developed to help support 30 incoming freshman to Black Hills State University. The transition model is designed to increase competency and skills by participating in a series of experiences designed to help the students’ transition from high school to college,” says Urla Marcus, BHSU Center for American Indian Studies director.

The goal of the program is to recruit, retain and graduate American Indian students. It is also to encourage active participation and graduation from BHSU. This program will encourage students to think about college on a competitive level. The proposed activities and programs are built on the premise that among like minded students who work closely together, positive energy is contagious. Students from South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota and Colorado have signed up to attend the program thus far.

BHSU has the highest percentage of American Indian students of the six state universities in South Dakota.

For more information about the program contact Marcus at 605-642-6578 or Urla.Marcus@BHSU.edu.