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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

First Year Experience

Since 1989, Residence Life has sponsored the First Year Experience (FYE) program at SUNY Potsdam.

The FYE Program combines three major components:

  1. Residential
  2. Academic
  3. Programmatic

This model enhances first year students' academic skill preparation, leadership development, and overall transition to the college experience. We invite you to look through this site and learn more about the numerous opportunities provided to FYE students.


FYE is housed in Bowman South. We set aside an entire building for first year students because many want to "go through it all together" with others who are experiencing college for the first time. First-year students are assigned to FYE based on their preference and are placed within a traditional double room with another first-year student who also has expressed interest in FYE. The FYE program is committed to providing a safe and comfortable living environment where both study and social interaction can occur. Of particular note, FYE is an alcohol-free environment as the vast majority of the participants are under the age of 21. The basic components of the residential program are outlined below.

Resident Assistants

The Resident Assistants (RAs) are essential to every residence hall at SUNY Potsdam. They are returning students who provide resources and support for the residents on their floors. The FYE RAs are specially trained to better understand the needs of the first year students. They present programs and provide information to help students succeed inside and outside of the classroom.

Residence Hall Director

The RD is a professional staff member who is assigned to manage each of the Residence Halls. The FYE RDs have experience and training specifically in dealing with first year students. The RD supervises the RA staff and assists students with personal, social, and academic difficulties. An RD lives in each building and is available 24 hours a day if needed.


Residence Life is committed to complementing the academic mission of SUNY Potsdam and provides a great deal of academic support for FYE students.

Theme Floors

Theme Floors in FYE are centered around common academic interest(s). Space on all of the theme floors is limited and will be assigned on a first requested, first-served basis.

Arts Floors

One floor in Bowman South has been reserved for students interested in the visual arts, dance, drama or music. Students planning to enroll in other arts related courses, such as Beginning Studio Classes, Mind of the Artist, Orientation to Theater, Beginning Dance Classes, Improvisation or Music classes, are encouraged to take advantage of this special floor where you can live and learn in a community with other students that share your interest in the arts. Space is limited on the Arts Floors and will be assigned on a first-requested, first-served basis.

Honors Floor

One floor in Bowman South has been reserved for first year students accepted into the Potsdam Honors Program. This is a wonderful opportunity to live in a community of scholars. The Honors Floor has been designated as a substance-free area, which means that the use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs is prohibited. Space on the Honors Floor is limited and will be assigned on a first-requested, first-served basis.


While every Residential Hall provides programming to students, the residential staff in FYE provides extra programming and support to help first year students navigate their first year. Students in FYE can expect to experience programming that will help them to build connections with other students, explore majors, be successful as a student, complete the various processes throughout the year (advising, financial aid, selecting housing for the next year, etc).