About the Belle C. Gunn First-Year Program
In 1888, Belle C. Gunn was the first woman to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from the State College of Kentucky, known today as the University of Kentucky. Carrying this legacy in to the 21st century, the Belle C. Gunn First-Year Program is for freshmen wanting to apply their passion and persistence to challenges facing today’s society. Grounded in agriculture, similar to Gunn’s Shelby County upbringing, this program introduces students to the interconnected systems of food, economics, and environment.
While all members of this first-year program will enjoy the same benefits and community, some events and projects will be specialized based upon students’ personal preferences and career goals. Depending on expressed interests, each student will join one of the following tracks:
- Food and Health: for students interested in a broad understanding of food, from growing to digestion
- Nature and Landscapes: for students interested in environmental and sustainability issues
- Family and Community: for students interested in issues facing families, small businesses, and local tourism
- Livestock and Equine: for students interested in work with domestic, large-breed animals
The Bell C. Gunn First-Year Program wants freshmen who are eager to understand and impact the complex challenges facing environmental, economic, and agricultural industries. While the program is organized by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, all interested students are eligible to join.
Upon completing the Belle C. Gunn First-Year Program, students will:
- Understand interdependent systems involving economics, environment and agriculture
- Demonstrate professional growth through industry excursions, career development workshops, networking opportunities, and hands-on coursework
- Apply studies and interests to a spring community service project
All students who participate in this program will live in Woodland Glen IV, located on south campus and only steps from the Johnson Recreation Center, Seaton Building, and The 90, UK’s dining and learning facility.
In the fall semester, participating students are required to enroll in a corresponding section of GEN 100: Issues in Agriculture, Food and Environment. This is an introductory course requiring critical analysis of the major social, economic, political and scientific issues in agriculture and related disciplines.
In the spring semester, students may choose from a menu of service learning or hands-on courses organized by the program coordinator. The available courses will be relevant to students’ interests and career goals.
Beyond track-based activities, all students can expect regular, community-wide events such as trips to Lexington Legends games, BBQs at the college farm, community service projects, etc.