Seemingly against her will, Taren Henry was required to enroll in University 100 during the fall semester of year freshman year.

Henry was in a class full of other athletes, many of whom were coming off morning practice and wanted to do nothing but sleep.

“[University 100] was a required class for us, unfortunately,” Henry said.  “At least that’s how it felt at first.”

To Henry’s surprise, Michelle Davis, the course instructor, and David Bier, the peer advisor, made the class extremely interactive and took the opportunity to get to know each student as an individual.

“We all became a little family,” Henry said. “I still see some of the people who are still here and we all call each other by our ice breaker names.”

After just one year running track, Henry made the decision to leave the team and pursue other interests on campus. Unlike many other athletes who give up their respective sports, Henry stayed at Mason and used her newfound friends from University 100 to land a job in the Office of Student Involvement, where she is currently the Public Relations Director of Program Board.

“I never wanted to leave Mason,” Henry said. “But, as far as finding something to do next, University 100 really helped with that.”

As part of the University 100 course, the Transition Resource Center is currently looking for peer advisors like Bier that will help impact the lives of next fall’s freshmen students.

The opportunity allows students to network throughout the university community by developing relationships with various offices throughout campus. It forces students to strengthen public speaking skills and improve small-group leadership while serving as an integral part of a freshman students’ first year of college experience.

University 100 is centered around topics that give freshman students some insight into how to make their college experience safe and productive. It focuses on teaching students to manage their finances and budget their time, all while making the transition to a campus of more than 35,000 students.

“By having a student in there, it gives all students someone to talk to who is there age,” Bier said.

To help ease the transition, peer advisors such as Bier give students another outlet from whom they may seek advice about the many issues surrounding first-year students.

“I still see David around,” Henry said. “He’s a good friend. I know if I ever needed anything, he would be right there to help me.”

As an active student at Mason, Bier takes pride in knowing that he played a role in the successes of many of the students in University 100.

“You get a great sense of accomplishment knowing that you’re helping university retain students,” Bier said. “But you also get a sense of pride knowing you’ve somehow enhanced the college experience of your students.”