The first Wildcat Week came to a close Saturday night after a week packed with new and old ACU traditions. Though the rebranded week has a new logo, a new name and new events, upperclassmen, faculty and staff might recognize a few things that went on during the week.
The first of the many significant changes in the structure of the week was making Tuesday move-in day. In years past, students moved in over the weekend and activities began Tuesday morning. The condensed schedule cut the waiting time between Saturday and the beginning of Wildcat Week.
Incoming students and their families dined around the GATA fountain Tuesday for a family barbecue after a long day of dorm move-in. After a newly-added goodbye ceremony and blessing, parents parted ways, and the incoming students experienced an ACU favorite, Candlelight Devotional.
Garon Goodspeed, Wildcat Week student director and senior accounting major from Farmers Branch, said roughly 90% of the new students were moved in before noon.
“The morning move-in crew did all the work and the afternoon move-in crew didn’t have anything to do,” Goodspeed said.
Wednesday morning marked the kickoff of Moody Mornings and Mentor Group Time, phrases still familiar to current students and teachers. In the past, these sessions have been focused on a theme like “Awake,” “Thrive,” or “Burn,” but the redesigned week now put the focus on how to help students be the best Wildcats they can be. Student spirit group Wildcat Reign taught students traditions and cheers for future sporting events.
Wednesday’s new activities included a bubble soccer tournament in the Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center, and a block party downtown on Cypress Street, complete with local food trucks and a movie at the Paramount Theater.
“The block party couldn’t have been more fun,” said Anna Hornell, freshman kinesiology major from Fort Worth. “It was a great way to meet people and get more aquatinted with the churches in Abilene.”
Thursday’s activities included the first-ever instrumental Chapel during the week and kayak races in the Rec Center pool. Instead of the traditional mentor group service project, Welcome to Abilene, the event put on by Students’ Association, was bumped up from the first week of school to Thursday afternoon. Students talked to different organizations on campus and around Abilene from 3-5 p.m. in the McGlothlin Campus Center.
Thursday night’s activities were designed as smaller group experiences. Students could sign up on IM Leagues to go two-stepping at Oplin or to play in the Grime Games. Each of these activities accommodated around 200 students. After the dancing and slip-n-slides, ACU alumnus Roy Cervantes and a team of current students led a late night worship time in Cullen Auditorium.
“Late night worship was such a unique and genuine experience,” said Megan Lavallee, freshman kinesiology major from Tuscola. “Being a part of that service with everyone praising God was so refreshing. I’m excited to see what is in store for the rest of this year.”
Friday night’s activity had traditionally been called Backyard Bash, which included the intramural flag football tournament and hanging out on the intramural fields. This event was renamed ACU Fest and was moved to Action Zone because the intramural fields were not ready to be played on yet. After the flag football tournament, students were invited to 90s Are All That, a dance at the Hunter Welcome Center. The dance was a tribute to the years the incoming students were born, 1996 and 1997.
Saturday the festivities concluded with the first Wildcat Week Concert sponsored by Students’ Association. Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, a Nashville-based band, performed at Elmer Gray Stadium. This event replaced the traditional Welcome Week Talent Show.
Though there were many changes from what upperclassmen experienced the past several years when coming to campus, students still experienced events like a sunrise devotional, the Saturday 5K and Mentor Group Olympics.