Freshmen bring their energy and excitement to campus on Move-In Day, Fall 2021

Junior Chandler Vardeman, front and center, exercise and sports science professor Lester Sombito, at left, and sophomore public relations major Chris Johnson, in background, carry in students’ luggage during Welcome Week at UMHB. Freshman Taylor Bass watches at right with her father. The campus came to life on Move-In Day as incoming freshman and their families brought the incoming students’ belongings to their new dorm rooms on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. Vardeman and Johnson are both Cru Leaders (peer mentors) helping students move in that day. Photos by Jaykwon Thompson/TheBells

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.                        

Upperclassmen welcome incoming freshman with a welcoming arch during UMHB’s Welcome Week. The move-in of freshman students to their new dorm rooms on the UMHB campus started early on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021.

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.

Freshman Psychology/Pre-Occupational Therapy major Jennifer Cortez and her family move some of her things into a new dorm room at Burt Hall at UMHB. She came with her family on the morning of Welcome Week’s Move-In Day, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. Walking with her at left is her mother Julia Cortez, while behind her are L-R: brother Justin Cortez, and father Joe 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.

UMHB’s Welcome Week featured the move-in of incoming freshman to their new dorm rooms on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. Here upperclassmen greet an incoming freshman and their family and help carry items to their dorm rooms for them.

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.

Resident Directors George Solis, left and Dusty Green, second from left, talk while offering sign-in sheets for new students in the Burt Hall lobby. UMHB’s Welcome Week featured the move-in of incoming freshman to their new dorm rooms on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. Photo by Jaykwon Thompson

“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. 

Author: The Bells Staff

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