Starting college is probably
the most normal thing you can be
Most of those jitters have probably
faded, but just to make sure, The
Pointer Unity Program, commonly
referred to as PUP by students across
campus, is here to help.
The program was created by
health promotion students and is
directed towards students who are
interested in health majors, but the
program accepts undeclared majors
“PUP is a leadership program
that helps new freshman and transfer
students explore who they are and
what they are capable of and have a
sense of connectedness and belonging
to a group of people that share similar
outlooks on health and wellness,”
said health promotion student and
PUP mentor, Heather Dopkins.
Another PUP mentor and health
promotion student, Alyssa Grams,
joined PUP because it sounded
exactly like the kind of program her
freshman self needed.
“The program is unique because
it is a place to go if you are struggling
with something and simply need
someone to chat with,” Grams said.
“What’s great is that we don’t try
to give you advice or tell you what
to do; instead, we help you explore
what you are truly wanting and how
to get there.”
Mentors also help students
learn about themselves and help
overcome barriers to thrive in each
of the seven dimensions of wellness:
physical, emotional, spiritual,
career, environmental, social and intelligence.
“The program is all about you and exploring who you are while also
diving into the health and wellness
field,” Dopkins said.
The program began last spring as
a practicum for students within the
health promotion major.
Students who signed up for
the practicum became mentors and
recruited 17 new freshman and
transfer students at orientation to be
mentees, or “pups”.
“The program is unique to health
promotion and unique to Stevens
Point,” Dopkins said. “People have
been going to our supervisor, asking
her to attend conferences and speak
about the program.”
Being a part of the program
aided incoming students in forming
a community on campus before they
even came to school.“My mentees said that it was nice to see a familiar face on the first
day of classes and that it’s nice to
have a group of people to go to for
information,” Dopkins said. “They
like knowing we’re always here for
The program isn’t only beneficial
for new freshman and transfer
students, but is a unique experience
for the mentors as well.
“I would have never gotten the
chance to meet these underclassmen
because we would have never had
classes together. It’s cool getting to
know them,” Dopkins said.
“Working with people as a
mentor in the PUP program has been
one of the most fulfilling experiences
of my college career,” Grams said.
“I’ve had the privilege to witness
people grow, learn, and become and
it’s been amazing.”