Panther Camp cultivates relationships for students

In 2006, FIU created a program that would change the lives of many freshmen and transfer students to come.

Panther Camp focuses on assisting new students in building relationships with other FIU students, fostering school spirit, cultivating future student leaders and helping students learn about FIU’s traditions and unique culture, according to the FIU Student affairs website. This weekend-long camp has become a tradition for new students at FIU.

“I came to FIU as a freshman and was presented the opportunity to come to Panther Camp,” said Cathy Alciemga, who began as a camper and is now a facilitator. ”It was the perfect way to help me warm up to other students and learn about the culture at FIU. I would recommend it to all incoming students.”

Panther campers and facilitators say that the program gives them opportunities to work on skills like teamwork, public speaking and networking through the various activities offered each session. Students come back to campus with a sense of community, school pride and friendship.

“After camp, you see your campers join other clubs and get really involved in FIU,” said Tristan Vulcain, 2016 facilitator. “You often see the shy campers blossom into outgoing people, and it’s just so great. No matter what personality type you are or what you’re into, Panther Camp is for you.”

Photo courtesy of Madison Jimenez, Panther Camp Facilitator

Photo courtesy of Madison Jimenez, Panther Camp Facilitator

According to Vulcain, the camp is is comprised of 3 days at Lake Placid, Florida. Food and bunks to sleep in are provided. Students are divided into teams in which they will participate in various team building and FIU trivia games throughout their time there. Despite that, students are encouraged to branch out and be social with students in other teams. Activities like a dance party night, shaving cream fight and an obstacle course are spread out through the three days.

“In the three short days that Panther Camp is, you’ll be so surprised at how much you will learn about others and yourself. You’ll come in one person, and come out another. It’s a life changing experience for many campers,” Alciemga said.

Throughout the academic year, the Panther Camp Team raises money for the Panther Camp Scholarship Fund. The money that is raised help defer the cost of Panther Camp for students with financial need.

The recipients will receive a $50 scholarship, which will go towards reducing the $90 registration fee. The recipients of the scholarship are responsible for the $40 difference in the cost of registration. Recipients are selected solely based on expressed need, not on merit. All scholarships are awarded on a first come, first served basis. Panther Camp does not offer a waiver of registration cost or full scholarships.

You can apply for the scholarship here:

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