SRU’s interim president hosts Jump Start students


Philip Way with Rocky

Slippery Rock University Interim President Philip Way is hosting a series of barbecues for students enrolled in the Jump Start college transition program, including a group of students from the College of Health, Environment and Science who gathered Aug. 29.

Aug. 30, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Playing host to more than 100 people at five barbecues in 10 days may seem a bit excessive for a typical household, but not so for the president's house at Slippery Rock University. Just ask Philip Way, SRU's interim president, who is welcoming first-year students enrolled in the University's Jump Start program to a series of backyard cookouts. The events provide the backdrop for Way and other faculty and staff to get to know the students.

SRU's Jump Start program has proven to be an effective tool in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students. The program is designed to assist students with the transition to college life, both academically and socially. Jump Start students are provided one-to-one development, academic advising and study skills strengthening and support. Students are also assigned an upperclassman mentor during their time in the program.

Woodson Headshot


"As a University, we recognize that transition programs like Jump Start are effective and participation continues to grow," said Way. "The barbecues are an opportunity for us to welcome students and continue to enhance their sense of the SRU community by providing an informal setting to interact with faculty and administrators."

To allow for more one-on-one interactions, five barbecues were scheduled to accommodate 20-25 students each, divided among SRU's different colleges. Jump Start students from the College of Business gathered Aug. 28, while the College of Education will meet Aug. 31 and the College of Liberal Arts Sept. 6. The College of Health, Environment and Science have two gatherings, Aug. 29 and Sept. 5.

"This was a nice event to help us make some connections," said Marina Woodson, a freshman exercise science major from Tarentum who attended the Aug. 30 barbecue. "This is not something everyone gets to do. It was nice to just hang out and it was interesting to get to talk to Dr. Way. He's down to earth and it was like he's just one of us."

"This is a wonderful opportunity to welcome them to the institution while letting them know that faculty and staff truly do care about them," said Amber Hamilton, assistant director for student transition programs, who oversees the Jump Start program. "We want students to ask questions and be successful and the best way to do that is through personal interactions."

The deans from each college, as well as a few faculty members, are attending the barbecues, as is SRU mascot, Rocky. Students are treated to a menu that includes grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken.

For more information about SRU's Jump Start program, visit:

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |