Before Class Begins
Welcome Students and Begin Building Community
Guiding Question: What does it mean to be a part of the Baylor community of scholars and of faith?
Scripture theme at Academic Convocation: For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. - Luke 12:48
Suggested In-Class Activities and Supplementary Materials
Dr. Alden Smith will give the faculty address at Academic Convocation this year; he will ask each student to consider writing a pledge that indicates what he or she aims to do as they enter their new community. Students are also invited to tweet their pledges to #BUconvo2013.
To prepare for Friday night, gather some name tags and a pen. Print out your class roster.
Greet students as they come in. Have them check off their names on the roster and make a nametag. (Please note: Contact any students who did not attend after the evening is over, saying that you missed them and that you look forward to seeing them at the next class).
After a prayer and dinner as you mingle, try beginning with an icebreaker of some sort. Here is an example:
Icebreaker: I'm a Bear, you're a Bear:
- Gather all participants (students, instructor and even family members).
- Gather enough chairs or seats for the amount of players minus one. For example, if you have ten players you will have nine seats.
- Make a circle or an enclosure with the chairs. Leave enough room for some shuffling or some running around inside the circle.
- Select one person to go first. That person stands in the middle of the circle while the other players sit in their seats.
- The person in the middle will now say "I'm a Bear, you're a Bear if you have never..." they list something they have never done; but are looking forward to doing during their time at Baylor. Examples might include "attended a Baylor home football game", or "been on a mission trip" etc. NB: It might be helpful to distribute the list of top 100 things to do at BU.
- Everyone sitting down who has never done what the person in middle has said must get up and find a new seat. The person in the middle will also take a seat. One person will be left without a seat, and they will take a turn in the middle.
Introduce yourself and what your role is in helping the students in your group by getting them connected and thriving in their first semester.
During the Friday night dinner,
- The peer or welcome week leader can select a few of the comments about convocation and tweeted pledges/tweets from the twitter feed #BUconvo2013 and share them with the group.
- Ask the students if anyone has written or tweeted a pledge yet.
- Discussion: What parts of "being college students" would they want to pledge about? (examples: studying, classwork, making friends, learning about the world, keeping centered, studying abroad, etc.) What matters to them as they start life on their own at Baylor with freedoms and responsibilities they haven't had before?
- If possible, give students a few minutes to think about and tweet a pledge during Friday evening's fellowship.
- Congratulate the students on ideas they have about making their Baylor lives different than high school (Alden Smith will have talked about this) and encourage them to revisit their pledges often and take action to make them real.