Hundreds of candles lit a winding walk from Moody Coliseum to the Beauchamp Amphitheater as the freshman class of 2013 and transfer students experienced Welcome Week’s traditional Candlelight Devotional Tuesday night.
ACU alumni, faculty and families lined the sidewalks and sang over the new students on their way to the devotional, where Dr. Bob Strader, adjunct professor of Bible and associate director of ACU Leadership Camps, delivered a message on finding direction and purpose in the college experience.
As the students reached the Tower of Light, their candles, too, were lit. Students lit each other’s candles, sharing and spreading lights from the outer edges all the way to the center of the fully packed amphitheater.
“It’s just an awesome experience,” said Amanda Buchanan, senior psychology major and steering committee member from Lubbock. “Other than being an incredible sight, what better way to welcome new students than to literally surround them on this walk and sing over them?”
Stefanie Nicholas, math education major from Allen, said she knew about Candlelight Devotional from friends who already attend ACU, but was still surprised by the actual experience.
“It sounded pretty cool,” Nichols said. “I had just seen pictures of it. They didn’t tell me what really happens. I didn’t know what we were going to do, like the walking through everyone.”
One of the most photographed events on ACU’s campus and a highlight of the Welcome Week experience, Candlelight Devotional attracts members of the ACU community every year who hope to bless new students and share the experiences they had at their own Candlelight Devotionals in the past.
Nichols said the ritual helped her feel like she was a part of the ACU community, and she believes she will likely return to offer the same experience to successive years of new students.
“I really loved it,” Nichols said. “It was cool just being invited and seeing all the friends that I’d made that were upperclassmen waving and smiling at you, welcoming you in. I just felt really connected to ACU.”