By Jaykwon Thompson
Editor in Chief
Laughing and singing filled the air outside on campus lawns and inside the busy hallways of the university dorms. There were nothing but smiles on faces during Welcome Week’s Move-In on the morning of August 4, as upper-level students helped incoming freshmen set up their new dorm rooms. Cheerleaders cheered and directed lines upon lines of cars everywhere with passengers excited to be there. Mary-Hardin Baylor became alive for the fall semester as students infused not only the day but the campus with their energy.
Many upper-level students and staff like Kyle Parson and University of Mary-Hardin Baylor’s president Randy O’Rear were there to welcome students and their families, and to carry their belongings to their new dorm rooms to settle them. They worked tirelessly, running to and from parking lots and various buildings on campus like Burt Hall and Remschel Hall, carrying everything from books to plants to heavy boxes of bedding, helping newcomers settle into their new dorm rooms. In-coming freshman and psychology/pre-occupational therapy major Jennifer Cortez was one of the students moving in.
“When all the upperclassmen were helping me, I felt really welcomed and I felt that this was going to be a new home for me and a great place for me to live for the next four years,” Cortez.
Welcome Week continued post move-in with activities to encourage involvement and new relationships, as well as knowledge about the school so that beginnings at a new school could go well for new students.
“During welcome week I was able to go to the rally they had on the first night. Lots of dancing, yelling and singing. Lots of fellowship,” Cortez said. “And I got to meet new people that were in the same degree plan.”
There was the Dubbing ceremony, a music fest at Luther Memorial, some gatherings for groups like the Baptist Student Ministry and the Association of Black Students, a First-2-Go dinner, (first in their families to attend college), an organization fair (The Big Fair), to name a few.
“I felt like I was connecting with new people with different experiences and backgrounds and the activities were a lot of fun it helped get us involved with the spirit and traditions here on campus,” Cortez said.
Though some parents were sad that they had to leave their children behind, they knew the new students would be having a busy week starting to experience their university life.
“Welcome week was pretty high-energy and I know that my students here in Burt hall were overall pretty excited,” Burt Hall Resident Director Dusty Green said. She also added how this year’s start was different from last.
“I think that having a campus with less restrictions on it due to COVID and everyone being able to see each other’s faces builds a community faster – [it is]something that builds the excitement levels really high for welcome week,” Green said. “All in all, I think everyone was really excited with the experience.”
This year, students got a taste of the next chapter in their lives at UMHB as they experienced what it is like to be welcomed, embraced, and cherished here. They were able to carry on the UMHB traditions of Welcome Week for 2021, and will likely, in turn, give this same welcome again next year to the next batch of new freshmen.