ESG is a community of approximately 55 first-year students, 11 staff, and 25-40 upper-class teaching assistants (TAs). In stark contrast to the large lectures typical of many first-year classes, ESG’s small classrooms and homey communal space foster the student and staff interaction that is the backbone of the ESG experience. Students are allowed the freedom to take part in the community in their own way. Some students spend the majority of their time at ESG, choosing to take part in weekly Friday community lunches, informal social activities, and study sessions with their peers. The ESG facility is open to community members 24/7, and groups of students can be found working on p-sets late into the evening hours, especially on nights before they are due.
Even though ESG is a first-year program, many students remain connected to ESG for their entire undergraduate careers. Students who excel in the first-year core subjects are encouraged to become TAs in following years, and ESG provides guidance and supervision for first-time TAs through its teaching seminar.
A large and devoted alumni base supports many of ESG’s educational initiatives through generous financial donations, active roles on alumni committees, and informal mentoring of current students.
ESG’s staff is deeply committed to undergraduate education. Since their offices are all in the ESG space, staff members are readily accessible for questions and feedback and offer informal advising on a regular basis. They come from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds, and often bring their outside interests to ESG by organizing field trips, informal in-house activities, and more formal, credit-bearing seminars. Staff members are on a first-name basis with all students; if you call the staff by their formal titles and last names, they will likely ask you to address them by their first names instead!