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Get an insider’s look at UNC Asheville’s IGNITE program

An IGNITE mentor + student share their experiences with the freshman program.

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UNCA Asheville’s IGNITE program is built to ensure all freshmen feel a sense of belonging and are equipped with the skills to succeed in college (and life).

Photo provided by UNC Asheville

From adjusting to new surroundings to charting an academic path, the first semester of college can be overwhelming. That’s why all UNC Asheville freshmen participate in IGNITE — a first-year program that helps new students build connections and develop skills while igniting their passions and fostering a sense of self and community. To deepen the experience, cohorts are led by upperclassmen Peer Advising Leader (PAL) mentors.

We got a first-hand account of the program from an IGNITE PAL + student participant. Here’s what they had to say.

Parker Lacewell, PAL mentor, built conversations with her group around empathy, communication, equity, inclusion, + changemaking.

  • About her IGNITE group: “After just the first class, I could see they were already building community and becoming close with one another. I think by the end they really felt like they found their spark.”
  • To UNCA upperclassmen considering PAL mentorship: “Do it. Absolutely do it. It’s a wonderful way to sharpen your leadership skills, to build community, and to give back to UNCA. It’s another way to shape the campus culture of being involved.”

Rachel Huneycutt, IGNITE participant:

  • About her PAL: “Parker wanted to make sure that we were engaged. So she checked in with us a lot about what we were comfortable doing and what we felt like talking about...I still run into Parker almost every day. I definitely look up to her, and after the program, I look up to her more as a friend. I feel like we made that connection.”
  • About her experience in IGNITE: “It was a good way to get to know my classmates in my first year seminar class, and a good way to get to know an upperclassman like Parker.”

Do you have a soon-to-be-freshman looking to start their college experience? Learn more about the IGNITE program and how to become a Bulldog.*

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