Photos: New Student Orientation from 2010, 2012
As building maintenance workers put the finishing touches on a patio area just outside of a Hardin-Simmons University residence Hall, Josh Steed, director of Anderson Hall, is organizing some 80 volunteers to help new students on move-in day.
About 425 freshmen and transfer students will be showing up on campus Wednesday, August 21, 2013, to move into Nix Hall (freshmen men) and Behrens Hall (freshmen women).
Steed says the volunteers will be easily recognized in their “STAMPEDE” t-shirts as they help unload cars and carry students’ belongings to their rooms in the residence halls. Steed says volunteers come on behalf of numerous churches across Abilene and many of HSU’s own service organizations.
“There will be lots of vibrancy surrounding the move-in process,” says Steed as he describes the upcoming event. “Besides everyone wearing their new STAMPEDE shirts, there will be music, and our new university partner, PepsiCo, will be providing refreshments! I think students will be excited when they realize Hardin-Simmons and the community of Abilene are here to serve them.”
Move-in day is the beginning of STAMPEDE Week at HSU as new students come early to participate in the orientation event that will acquaint them with the HSU campus.
Nine students serving on the Steering Committee, along with HSU student activities coordinator Brittany Suell, labor throughout the summer to make the orientation event possible, making sure no detail is missed.
The event has undergone a name change this year with Dean of Students, Forrest McMillan, charging members of the Steering Committee to come up with an appropriate name. “STAMPEDE celebrates our western heritage,” says McMillan. “It also presents a visual image of people moving on a common impulse. We had several Round-Ups (registration events) this summer to start the orientation process and we thought it was appropriate to continue with
STAMPEDE motion into the school year.”
A giant “Slip ‘n Slide with pools full of tempera paint is one of the favorite events of STAMPEDE as students bond during a gigantic paint contest called “The Games.”
One of many activities planned for incoming transfer and freshman students is Campus Tag. Students are divided into teams as they solve clues that teach them where to find strategic buildings across the campus.
The Traditions Assembly acquaints students with the school anthem and fight song, past presidents and personalities, and how the campus came to look as it does today. For those not yet in the know on how to signal a Cowboy’s gun, students will learn the school hand sign and practice swaying their arms in the air as they sing “Hardin-Simmons, hail to thee, for famous are they halls…”.
One of the most riveting events during the assembly is a performance by the Ex-Cowgirls. Mostly in their 70s and 80s, the Ex-Cowgirls perform The Stomp, a rousing dance routine that typically garners a standing ovation from the rather amazed group of student newcomers.
On Saturday, August 24, students will organize for a large-scale community service activity divided between the Taylor County Expo Center and the North Park Friendship House, one block north of the HSU campus.
Parents and students tell each other good-bye on Wednesday evening, August 21, after an ice cream dessert party on the HSU front lawn by the pond. The 7 p.m. parent/student time together is decidedly harder on the parents than it is for the students. Students know they are in for five-days of meeting new friends, rousing assemblies, and learning what it means to be an independent adult and a responsible college student.
Steed says the planned activities will help students immediately feel like a part of the HSU family, hopefully easing the transition from home to college.
Students on the STAMPEDE Steering Committee include Blake Allen, Michael Cruz, Hayden Davidson, Kendra Holt, Derek Pawelek, Samantha Prescott, Erika Sparkman, Connor West, and Carley Willis.