The Welcome Week staff and a large team of upperclassmen volunteers returned to campus early last week to help integrate hundreds of new students into the ACU community.
The week’s activities included a giant game of Twister, a candlelight devotional, mentor group meetings and a service project. Attendance at all of the week’s activities was high this year, said Erin Daugherty, senior English major from Stephenville. She said the freshman class as a whole showed they were ready to become an active part of the ACU community.
“I just feel really passionate about the importance of your first experiences at this university because they largely shape what kind of first year you are going to have in college,” Daugherty said. “Just getting to see people loving and enjoying and embracing things like candlelight devo and the service project and things that are really unique to ACU’s culture is so rewarding for me.”
It took a lot of people to make Welcome Week happen, Daugherty said. Daugherty was a student director for Welcome Week alongside Meredith Morgan, Amy Archer, Kimberly Harris and Brandon Kahla. The Welcome Week Steering Crew consisted of 20 students who were divided into five committeesÂ focusing onÂ transfer students, international students, activities, spiritual life and mentor groups.
“I really enjoy getting to witness the transitions you go through as a freshman when you first get here and just seeing even the small development that happens from move-in to the end of Welcome Week,” Daugherty said.
Randee Nelson, junior history major from Carlsbad, N.M., worked with international students during Welcome Week and said the committee designed things a little bit differently for them. Leaders picked the students up from the airport, helped them move in, took them to Wal-Mart, took them out to eat and helped them get settled in.
“One of the most important things is making them feel comfortable in their new world, being a friend and making them feel at home and accepted,” Nelson said.
Nelson said the Steering Committee enjoyed watching friendships sprout throughout the week from behind the scenes. She said manyÂ of the incoming freshmen alreadyÂ areÂ eager to get involved on campus and want to join in the campus community.
Nelson said, “I hope they walk away with confidence and excitement that their next four years – or however many years they’re here – will be good and will be fun and they’ll be involved and they’ll find their place here.”
Kelsi Wicks, senior animal science major from Tyler, helped organize the events for transfer students. She said they had different options available, such as taking a trip to Nikki’s Swirl Shoppe or playing volleyball at Sonic, so the week would not feel like a second freshman year to them.
Wicks said her freshman year Welcome Week experience was essential in introducing her to other students, including many upperclassmen, and familiarizing her with all of the ACU traditions.
“The candlelight devo was that one defining moment when I realized I made the right decision,” Wicks said.