Every August, faculty, staff and student leaders come together to welcome new students into the Asbury community. Welcome Week began on Aug. 8, with the registration and moving in of incoming freshmen. However, preparation for this began much earlier.
Director of Student Engagement Heather Tyner, who has been in charge of planning Welcome Week and working with Transition and Guidance (TAG) leaders for the past five years, had several goals for this year in order to maintain perspective throughout the planning process and Welcome Week itself.
“I always want TAG leaders to lead with authentic enthusiasm and a desire to serve,” she said. This makes way for incoming freshmen to feel like they have everything they need.
One of the best assets to a good Welcome Week is the TAG program, as TAG leaders are the easiest way to impact incoming students. TAG Coordinators and juniors Nate Stevens and Sierra Leach joined Tyner in hiring and training TAG leaders and preparing them for almost everything the week had in store. Stevens and Leach were both TAG leaders the previous year, so they were excited to be able to take on a different role.
“I had expectations that incoming students would be able to make new friends and get settled into life at Asbury and those expectations were met very quickly,” Stevens said.
This year, New Connections, the time in which incoming freshmen get to meet their TAG groups for the first time, was moved from the soccer field to the Reasoner Green.
“This was a huge hit,” Leach said. “While watching everything unfold, I got really excited to have the Appointed Class join our Asbury community.”
Amongst all the events, some of the TAG Coordinators’ favorite parts of Welcome Week were the low ropes course and the #Classy event, as both are times that incoming students get a chance to build relationships with their fellow classmates in unconventional ways.
Tyner said her favorite part about Welcome Week is “being able to sit back and watch the TAG leaders come into their own confidence all the while watching new students accept Asbury as their new home.”
While campus was busy preparing for Welcome Week, incoming students were anxiously awaiting the new adventures that college life would bring them. Many students were nervous moving away from home for the first time, but some, like incoming freshman Courtney Hughes, had high expectations for the first week after previously visiting Asbury.
“Welcome Week most definitely prepared me for Asbury life,” Hughes said. “I got everything I needed done in Kinlaw, and it only took me 30-40 minutes. At the same time, people were moving my stuff into my dorm; therefore, I didn’t have to lift one single finger.”
Brooke Scott, Appointed Class member, felt very prepared for the social aspects of Asbury through Welcome Week activities.
“I liked how there was a mix of activities that we did with TAG groups, as well as several activities we did as an entire class,” Scott said. “The only thing that I would maybe change was how busy we were kept. There was not a lot of time to recharge and many people were very tired. As a whole though, I really enjoyed Welcome Week.”
Hughes and Scott agreed that their favorite part was worship on the Green. Having community worship be an essential part of their welcome helped orient the freshmen into the spirit of Asbury.
“Coming from a public school, I’ve never experienced worshipping at school with fellow classmates,” Hughes said. “The feeling that your soul gets when you’re surrounded by fellow Christians is indescribable. It’s like that really good part of church camp but 24/7.”
When asked about her overall impression of Welcome Week 2017, Tyner said, This year was exceptionally good. The Appointed Class was ready to dive in.”
Photos by Eliza Tan