Baylor Welcomes New Students to Campus Aug. 16-19
by Paige Patton, communication specialist, (254) 710-3321
After the hustle and bustle of moving into residence halls, new Baylor University students will dive in to a weekend of activity designed to welcome them to campus and make them feel at home. Move-in Days will be held over two days, Wednesday and Thursday, with Welcome Week running Aug. 16-19. A full schedule of events will incorporate Baylor's community atmosphere into each activity.
Welcome Week features small group interaction for freshmen and transfer students led by approximately 350 upperclass students, who encourage new students to develop their physical, intellectual, social and spiritual lives.
"The purpose of Welcome Week is to provide a great start to the new student's experience," said Elisa Dunman, director of New Student Programs at Baylor. "We seek to provide a strong introduction and connection to our community."
Move-in Day is the biggest event on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 15-16. Following move-in, President John M. Lilley will host the annual President's Picnic for students and their families from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 16, on Burleson Quadrangle. At 8 p.m., students will meet in their small groups for the first time, while parents head to the Parent Split Party, where they will enjoy banana splits and hear some brief words from President Lilley before they depart.
Friday's activities kick off at 9 a.m. with a small group meeting and the traditional Welcome Week Convocation at 10 a.m. in the Ferrell Center, marking the first time that the Class of 2011 will meet together. The Convocation is designed to celebrate everything that makes Baylor special--academic excellence, tradition, community, faithfulness and its students. After lunch, small groups will participate in common reading conversations, based on Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer. At 3 p.m., colleges and departments across campus will host academic open houses, where students can meet with faculty and staff and gather information about various academic departments. As another favorite Welcome Week tradition, faculty and staff members will open their homes to small groups for dinner at 5 p.m. The evening closes at 8:30 with a huge spirit rally, showcasing Baylor traditions and spirit.
Saturday morning begins with an opportunity to serve, an important element of life at Baylor. Through the First Step program (known during the rest of the year as "Steppin' Out"), new students will contribute to various service projects in the Waco community from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Some groups will descend on Downtown Waco as part of a graffiti clean-up and downtown improvement effort. Others will participate in Project Build Hope and will frame a Habitat for Humanity house on campus in celebration of Baylor's Habitat chapter's 20th anniversary. A celebration of service and ministry will take place at noon outside the Bill Daniel Student Center. Local service organizations and area churches will share opportunities for continued community ministry.
Later in the afternoon, each residential community will have a unique activity for its residents to build relationships and meet neighbors. Saturday concludes with the Big Event at 8 p.m. at Fountain Mall. Since the Class of 2011 is the last freshman class born before 1990, they will celebrate the 1980s in style. Activities will include arcade games, trivia challenges, 80's movies like Top Gun and Footloose and live music by the Spazmatics, an 80's cover band.
Sunday features church, lunch and dinner with small groups, and ends with the Candlelight Ceremony, a long-standing Welcome Week tradition, at 7:45 p.m. at the Ferrell Center. Students will gather to reflect on the past and commemorate the journey that lies ahead at Baylor.
"It is our hope that at the end of Welcome Week, students are affirmed that they made the right decision in coming to Baylor," Dunman said. "We want them to be excited and able to intentionally engage in the community and all its resources."