Moving Toward a New Millennium: 1990s-2003Several new programs were designed specifically to assist freshmen in their transition to college. In 1997, President David Hardesty (1995-2007) announced the Operation Jump-Start Program (now called First-Year Experience). Each residence hall works as a small community led by Resident Faculty Leaders, referred to affectionately as RFLs (pronounced “Riffles”). The RFLs act as mentors for the students in their residence halls.
When President Hardesty was student body president in the 1960s, WVU had a “Festival of Ideas.” In the 1990s he revived this idea. During this multiweek “festival,” WVU hosts nationally and internationally renowned guest speakers. These have included Yolanda King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Spike Lee, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Greg Louganis.
WVU developed several fun activities for the students, like FallFest, which welcomes students back to classes. In 1998 WVUp All Night started to offer free weekend entertainment to students, including free food, films, and various other activities.
WVU’s curriculum and programs became even more diverse in the 1990s. The University approved the African Studies Certificate in 1990, developed new courses in environmental sciences, started the forensic identification program, and offered an introductory course to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender studies in the spring of 1999. Operation Safe Zone, a program developed to provide support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students, started in the spring of 1998.
As WVU moves into the twenty-first century, its rich history of academic excellence and progressive programs will continue to grow.