By Allison Jarboe, Features Editor
As the next school year is quickly appearing on the horizon, students are preparing for what will be one of the biggest freshman classes that OBU has ever received.
As any OBU student likely recalls, Welcome Week is an important experience that kicks off the year.
Breanna Hurlbut, junior exercise science major, discussed her unique leadership role in Welcome Week.
“I am one of the co-chairs of Steering Committee, the committee that plans Welcome Week,” Hurlbut said. “My partner is Will Engle.”
Hurlbut said that they have the privilege to train the steering committee team and oversee the planning of Welcome Week.
“We get to lead out in many areas; one of my favorite and most humbling being fostering the theme or spirit the Lord wants to foster for Welcome Week, which really flows through that whole year,” Hurlbut said.
She explained that it has been exciting to seek God’s plan together.
“My partner and I, as well as the whole team, [can act as] God’s hands and feet in that area.”
Ashton Malone, freshman pre-allied health major, described her enthusiasm about the incoming group of students next year.
“I’m excited what they have to offer Bison Hill as a freshman class,” she said.
Malone will be a Tri-W which stands for Welcome Week Worker. Tri-W’s lead groups of freshman in different activities during Welcome Week and are an important part in engaging the new class in a personal and intentional way.
For many freshmen, a Tri-W may be one of the first friendly faces they encounter on campus or a first friendship they develop.
Those involved with next year’s Welcome Week recently learned where they would work, either Student Ministry or Crew.
“I’m excited to help the new students feel at home and comfortable in a completely different environment,” Malone said.
Catherine Finch, junior communications major, will be returning this next year as a Senior Tri-W.
She said she is ready to start out her last year by welcoming the new class into her established home at OBU.
“I am most excited about making new students feel welcomed,” Finch said. “My Welcome Week experience was definitely one for the books, and because OBU has been so good to me, I want to make sure the incoming students feel like they belong.”
Finch explained one of the reasons that Welcome Week is so important to her.
“As a senior, this incoming freshman class creates a feeling of nostalgia for me,” she said.
“I remember being in their shoes, and I am excited to impart some ‘elderly wisdom’ on them, hopefully making the freshman know that college is doable, and an experience of a lifetime.”
Malone, finishing up her own freshman year, described the impact her own Welcome Week experience made on her.
“Coming to college is weird and terrifying,” she said. “But I know my welcome week made me feel right at home, and feel that people on this campus really care about me and my success.”
As a week of no classes, and an intense focus on becoming a Bison, Welcome Week is important for a number of reasons, whether it’s developing traditions, cultivating community or learning about OBU culture.
“I pray that Christ is manifested through Welcome Week,” Hurlbut said.
Finch agreed that Welcome Week not only establishes the Christian beliefs that OBU rests upon, but also has an amount of school spirit that is unparalleled.
“At no other point in the school year do you hear ‘ka-rip’ nearly every hour,” Finch said. “I think Welcome Week is important because it reminds every student, new and old, why we love OBU so much.”