Baylor Welcomes New Students

Aug. 16, 1999

The journey of life does not begin at college. Instead, it is a continual path upon which each student must embark -- a path full of twists and turns, ups and downs and exciting adventures. As Baylor welcomes new students this August, the theme of Welcome Week 1999 will serve as a reminder to them that "The Journey Has Begun."

Welcome Week 1999 officially gets under way Friday, Aug. 20 through Tuesday, Aug. 24, with activities ranging from dorm move-in and new student meetings to pep rallies and community service projects. Welcome Week staff hope to introduce new students to the idea of the balance of a whole person - intellectually, socially, physically and spiritually - and to acquaint students with Baylor and its traditions.

"They're embarking on a whole new part of their life," said Ronda Lyles, a Pasadena junior and local arrangements co-chair for this year's Welcome Week Steering Committee. "They've already been accepted to Baylor; they've been planning to come all summer long. They're journey has already begun, and we just want to help as they continue."

Lyles said she enjoyed her Welcome Week experience as a freshman so much that she wanted to get involved with the Steering Committee.

"When I was a freshman, I knew I wanted to be where they were," she said. "I wanted to be planning and putting together a week that makes a difference in so many lives. We're they're first impression of Baylor, and I just hope they can see Jesus through what we do, whether through the activities, the staff we have chosen, or something else. I pray that they can see our love for Baylor and our faith."

Laura Bedwell, a senior from Norman, Okla., and program co-chair for this year's Welcome Week Steering Committee, said she got involved in the planning of Welcome Week 1999 because of her experience as a Baylor transfer student.

"The best part of their lives is right around the corner, and we want to welcome them to it," she said. "When I transferred to Baylor, I was really worried because I didn't know anyone here. I had a lot of fears that I wouldn't be able to make friends, you know...coming in as a sophomore. The night of the seminar sessions, one of my leaders gave his testimony. He really made it on a personal level, and that was the real encouragement I needed. It really spurred me to go in the right direction because I could have teetered a lot of ways."

Bedwell said the Steering Committee wants this to be an exciting time and a unique experience for freshmen and transfers.

"I anticipate a great year where the new students can come in and learn all about Baylor and meet people and become a part of the Baylor family," she said. "Welcome Week gives students a chance to see the different parts of the school and get used to that before they start the first day of class. I think it just makes them a little more comfortable."

Both Lyles and Bedwell agreed that participation and involvement is key to the Welcome Week experience.

"They need to go to the program events, go to the concert, go to the dance," Bedwell said. "Don't be afraid to break away from friends at home and break of comfort zones."

Some of this year's events will include the traditional President's Picnic and a New Student Convocation for new students and their parents. The convocation will involve both faculty and administration and will serve as a formal welcome to academics at Baylor.

The Steering Committee has also planned a "Journey Through Time Dance", a Baylor Line pep rally, a carnival and a concert featuring Caedmon's Call. These events will give students an opportunity to meet new people and get to know each other.

This year's program will also include a Sunrise Service at 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning, which was scheduled early so students may worship at a local church if they choose, and a Candle Lighting Service to close the week on Tuesday evening. These events will provide a spiritual element of Welcome Week.

This year's service project, "First Step," will take place in East Waco near the former campus of Paul Quinn College. According to Dub Oliver, director of student activities, this will be third year they have planned a service project. However, this is the first year that all participants will be working together in one general area.

"They will be painting houses all in one neighborhood," Oliver said. "It will be neat to see the before and after of what people who care about a community and put their minds to it and their hands together can accomplish in a short amount of time."

Welcome Week is also a time to get familiar with the basics of college life.

Min-con and seminar leaders will help students find their classrooms, buy books and figure out where and how often to study. They will also discuss what expectations that will be placed on students during class. Groups will deal with issues such as getting along with roommates, dating, the importance of fitness and fitness options. Leaders will share their personal experiences concerning class, church, friends and much more. In each aspect of the week, leaders will stress the importance of becoming a well-balanced student at Baylor.

As over 3,000 freshmen and transfers head to Baylor in the fall, the Welcome Week Steering Committee and leaders hope to get as many of them as possible involved in this incredible week and excited about life at Baylor.

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