Solving the puzzle

Puzzles are back in Eldridge Hall

by Emily Mosier

There is a long-standing tradition at Eldridge Hall of allowing students to work together on jigsaw puzzles, and while the tradition was put on hold in the face of COVID-19, the puzzles are finally back.

Eldridge Hall houses the John W. Schmidt Center for Student Success, and many of the walls are lined with framed, colorful and vividly different puzzles that were put together by students. Many of them consist of more than 2,000 pieces.

According to Dr. Hal Fulmer, Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate and First Year Studies, the puzzle is a metaphor for the challenges students face while navigating college.

“A puzzle has all these individual pieces, just like the [Schmidt] center with all its different units, but as you put it all together, you begin to see the bigger picture,” Fulmer said.

 Fulmer compared puzzles to the university’s incoming students.  

“They are like freshmen, who come in kind of knowing what they want to do, and then by the time they graduate, they’ve completed the puzzle of at least this undergrad degree,” Fulmer said. “We are here to help put those pieces together.”

The center offers a wide range of free services. Students can come to Eldridge for printing, tutoring, resume advice, mock job interviews, or rother career services. The center has a team of advisors who help freshmen, students with undeclared majors, and students in developmental classes.

Additionally, the center houses the Americans with Disabilities Act office, the Office for Civic Engagement, The McNair Program, the Trio Program and The Upward Bound program.  

“The tutoring is a massive hit for me,” said Ashley Adams, a senior English major from Enterprise, Alabama. “Also, I am thrilled the puzzles are back.”

The first puzzle set out since COVID-19 was public for less than a week before it was completed.

“The puzzles were a thing I did a lot as a freshman and now as a senior seeing them come back is amazing,” said Destiney Manning, a marine biology major from Geneva, Alabama. “For me personally, they are a symbol of things slowly getting back to normal.”

Fulmer, who was a part of the committee that originally created the Center for Student Success, has been the director since 2011, and said he loves his job.

 “Being here creates a kind of energy and connectivity,” Fulmer said. “And as long as we can get a student to walk through the door, we have the resources to help them.”

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