Kelly Vaughan ’17
A few things unite the incoming Trinity first year students every year – confusion as to what The Bantam Network is, or even what a bantam is, what the best kind of mattress topper to buy for one’s bed is, and how many times they’ll switch their major. Across campus, students and faculty alike were aware that the Class of 2020 was supposedly the best ever. In an interview with the Tripod, Angel Perez, VP of Enrollment and Student Success, noted that the Class of 2020 is “strong due to their incredible diversity, geographic reach, and extensive talents. In addition, there are more students in the top of our academic profile than we’ve had in recent history. This class does not just bring academic talent to Trinity, but also passion around extracurricular activities and service to others.”
This is the second year that The Bantam Network will be implemented, a program which started last year and was designed by students for students as a way to introduce first-year students to every on-and-off campus resource they would need during their four years. The Bantam Network is comprised of nests, which includes four to five first-year seminars and is led by a Trinsition fellow.
One of these Trinsition Fellows is Trinity Class of 2015 graduate, Chanel Erasmus, who is in charge of the Book and Brownell Nests, says that one of her goals of The Bantam Network is to show first year students “that life exists beyond Blue Back Square.” Erasmus said she really wants to show students how they can influence the community in Hartford and believes that the Class of 2020 is well equipped with “intellectually engaged students who are ready to face the…exciting new challenges beyond the Long Walk.” Erasmus is also excited to see how the first-year students grow throughout the next coming months.
At first, first-year students tend to dress the same and their style serves as a “visual indicator” of their confidence level, according to Erasmus. She believes that once first-year students become “more confident in themselves, they become more confident in their community and will be engaged in around them” and additionally, will “not always need to seek approval” from their peers.
Erasmus says her goal is to “equip first-year students with skills to succeed at and beyond Trinity…if they have those skills, they make Trinity better for the next three years.”
Perez noted that the incoming class aligns greatly with Trinity’s goals for the future of the college, saying “One of the areas I think this class will contribute most is engagement with Hartford. This is the first class that wrote an essay about what they want to contribute in Hartford. This means many of them had to think deeply about why they want to attend a school like Trinity in a community like Hartford. So many of them are excited about rolling up their sleeves and making a difference in this community. Our goal at Trinity is to be an anchor in this community and partner with our neighbors. I think the class of 2020 will lead the way.”
One of the most notable students of the Class of 2020 is 16-year-old Ben Liske, a Presidential Scholar from Tennessee, who Erasmus says is “amazing…he’s incredible, he’s hungry to learn, and be a part of the community,” and hopes that those around him are inspired by him.
Perez notes that “The Admissions and Financial Aid teams were so dedicated and put in ridiculously long hours. However, they were all so positive and full of excitement. They knew we were creating something special. I remember walking out of my office at 10pm one day with a colleague and smiling. We both turned around to each other and said “this class is going to be something truly special.”
Kelly Vaughan ’17