Students aim north

%0AStudents+in+the+Aim+North+program+gather+atop+Sugarloaf+Mountain.+The+Aim+North+program+began+less+than+a+year+ago+in+summer+2018.+Photo+courtesy+of+Jessica+Cruz

Students in the Aim North program gather atop Sugarloaf Mountain. The Aim North program began less than a year ago in summer 2018. Photo courtesy of Jessica Cruz

Mary McDonough

For many high school seniors, the unknown feeling preceding graduation and college can be thrilling, but also terrifying. Aim North, run by the Diversity and Inclusion Office, has launched to fill the time of that summer before college with an experience that brings college to the comfort of home.

This program offers eight credits to students in the Detroit area who are accepted to NMU and others looking for general education credits that will transfer easily. Credits such as EN111 count for the English Composition requirement and the NAS101 Anishinaabe Language, Culture, and Community apply to the Human Expression (HUME) requirement.

In the program’s pilot launch, 12 students have completed the program, six of them are currently on campus and two more will come to NMU. Six schools of the Detroit area participate in the program.

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Jessica Cruz, who oversees the program operations, view their work as more than just academics. They work to give the students comfort and confidence.

“We want to build a strong sense of community among the students before they come to campus,” Cruz said. “Build a strong sense of community and you’ll have a strong sense of belonging.”

Freshman David Kim, an Aim North student, drove at least an hour each way from Pontiac to get the credit for his courses, nothing he regrets even with the added stress of the drive.
“What they were offering me was pretty hard to turn down,” Kim said. “I’m pretty glad I did it.”

With such a positive impact on students in its initial launch, Cruz hopes to expand the program, fitting it to whatever the specific needs may be.

“I want to go to take Aim North and other initiatives like it and go to other locations with something tangible in hand to build that relationship and to show that we’re serious about what we’re doing,” Cruz said.