Welcome Week 2019


The first impression incoming students get of McMurry as a War Hawk is both during SOAR and during Welcome Week. However, these events don’t run themselves; admissions, residence life, and numerous other groups across campus contribute to such events to make students’ experience the best possible. The bulk of this planning, however, falls on the orientation team. This year, I had the honor of being one of the co-directors, along with Kaci Builta. Frankly, I can tell you that being a co-director on the orientation team was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of my life.

The orientation team starts training in the spring to be prepared for all the new students and their needs. We learn about challenges incoming students face and how we can help students overcome such adversity. During the summer, orientation leaders return to campus to run events such as SOAR and guide new students around their first taste of campus life. Behind the scenes, Kaci and I are constantly checking in with our team, making sure they are taken care of and that there are no issues.  

Welcome Week starts for the orientation team the Saturday before new students arrive. The entire team reviews training from earlier in the year, continues to work on decorations, and learns the Welcome Week dance. The rest of the three days before new students arrive, the orientation team works day-to-night making sure everything is ready. The entire team goes out to Camp Butman early for a safety briefing, they are paired with their partners to come up with a name and flag design for their flock, they tirelessly practice skits, and decorate the entire Mabee Room according to the year’s theme. There are always bumps in the road that in the moment seem to send the world crashing down. This year’s seemingly life shattering moment came in hanging up the backdrop, the massive work of art hung at the back of the room. After spending well over a month on the design and painting, we realized the backdrop was too tall to stand at the back of the room. Although the problem was solved, it was both dizzying and frantic.

All the months of preparation and hard work came to life when the students arrived on campus. The orientation team is immediately available to help students move in and greet parents and family. Throughout the rest of the week, orientation leaders guide their flocks through the numerous activities, their first classes, and Camp Butman. It is the most fun, most exhausting, and most satisfying week I personally have ever experienced.

The orientation team are the hardest working group of people I know. Over the course of the summer, and especially during Welcome Week, we all got very close. In fact, we became a family. When unplanned situations arose and I felt like my back was against the wall, my team was there for me. They lifted me up and encouraged me in ways I will forever be grateful for. It is an incredible thing to be a part of and I truly wish that everyone would give this experience a shot.

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