Photos: Lauren Betz moves in to Behrens with a little help from mom and dad; Denise Dunn moves in with help from sister, Deanna Loya; Stephen Lester, NSO leader, helps carry boxes to dorm rooms
When Grand Prairie High School graduate and Hardin-Simmons University freshman, Lauren Betz, and her parents, Matt and Debbie Betz, walked up the front steps of Behrens Residence Hall empty handed, it was clear they were scoping out the logistics of moving a mountain of bedding, clothes, shoes, and wall decorations.
Lauren is one of over 400 new freshmen and transfer students arriving on campus this week to participate in New Student Orientation. Although Lauren brought the help of her parents, there was also plenty of aid from dozens of sophomore, junior, and senior students on board to help new students navigate the crowded hallways and deliver boxes and armloads of clothes and shoes to dorm rooms.
Head of the Department of Mathematics, Dr. Andrew Potter, was on hand with a dolly as a volunteer with Pioneer Drive Baptist Church. Volunteers from Southside Baptist Church also abounded with ready help for students.
Lauren says she started looking at HSU as a potential university to attend because she had a friend who was looking over the campus. She says she liked HSU immediately since it met her criteria of small and Christian-based. Plus, Lauren plans to take classes that will eventually lead her to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Lauren says her roommate, Sarah Wood, also wants to eventually be accepted into the PT program.
Denise Dunn, a graduate of Abilene High School, brought along her sister for support with her move to the dorm. Denise, with a declared major in art education, says she had been planning to come to HSU all along because she already knew the university well and likes its homey environment.
Dorm move-in is just the beginning of New Student Orientation. Once mom and dad leave, students divide into their student family groups and move to Behrens Auditorium for a high energy Opening Ceremony. The week of activities include getting to know the campus both physically and academically.
While a time for companionship and fun, NSO serves as a time to educate new students about what is expected of them at Hardin-Simmons University. This week students hear from professors, attend a community fair to learn about volunteer opportunities in Abilene, and participate in a community service day.
New students are informed about HSU’s policies on academics and chapel, and given valuable information from HSU professors on academic life.
University chaplain, Dr. Kelly Piggott, tells students about the university’s 80 required chapel credits, but also about the services he and others can provide students, encouraging students not to feel like they have to face things alone. “The university is here for you in times of crisis,” says Pigott.
Other professors talked to students about staying focused, and stressed the very serious message of academic integrity, encouraging students to keep in mind that from day one, they are building credibility.
The most visual event and certainly the messiest event is Thursday morning when students slip-n-slide in hundreds of gallons of paint and water in an event called The Games.
Students will also get to make a very tangible difference in the community as they paint and repair the Taylor County Expo Center and Coliseum this Saturday. Each year, all students put in thousands of community service hours.
Below, watch video of campus tag, where students are given clues about buildings and asked to find them. The reward for finding the building is a game where family groups earn points for bragging rights. Upperclassman students man each station and give freshmen and transfer students information on what happens in buildings.
The messiest game in town is officially called, The Games. The video below is a look at what happens during one of the most anticipated NSO events.