“Welcome Week was such an amazing experience, giving me a taste of what campus life would be like! There was never a dull moment, as there were always people to meet and faculty to engage with. It made me so excited for my time at Regent!” – Lilly Kramer (Welcome Week 2021 Participant)
At the beginning of each fall semester, hundreds of new students gather to embark on their Regent University journey. Despite the curveballs thrown by COVID-19, Welcome Week has endured. While it looked a bit different this year, incoming freshmen and transfers were still granted the opportunity to jump into student life a week before the semester, adding all the necessary tools to their belts before classes began.
On Monday, August 16, new Regent students moved into university housing for the first time. Energy and excitement permeated the air as families, friends, and orientation staff carried belongings from loaded cars to students’ new homes. Life group leaders, life group captains, RAs, and orientation captains all banded together to lend a helping hand, and on that hot humid day, new beginnings took root.
After students were checked in and settled, Regent University hosted the first of many events: Welcome and Worship. Here, students and families sang with the worship team and were able to hear from various faculty members. From there, students said their last goodbyes to their loved ones and embarked on their own college adventure.
Tuesday through Friday was filled with exciting experiences for the students. Not only were there various sessions in which students were equipped with the knowledge to succeed in their time at Regent (ranging from presentations from counseling and disability services to Q&A panels with Residence Life), but students were also granted the opportunity to bond with other members of their respective halls. “Front of House” Life Group Leaders led students in ice-breaker games, devotional times, and in the evenings joined them for various fun activities such as movie nights and scavenger hunts around campus.
Not every Life Group Leader was a part of the front-line action. There were many participants in the “behind the scenes.” These leaders were part of the set-up and tear-down crew, and also served lunches to those participating in Welcome Week. This was a particularly fun time for them, as this was the primary place in which they could interact with the new students. Ethan Voight, returning Life Group Leader, put it this way: “…we would ask students how their day [had] been, and we would do little chants to get them hyped up or relaxed from the crazy day.”
No part of Welcome Week could have run the way it did without the orientation team putting in the work. Members of the discipleship team (Life Group Leaders and Life Group Captains) made up most of the group, however special mention should be made of the leaders over it all. Orientation Captains Jordan Benson, Josh Kline, Sage Thomas, and Peter Ferrulli did an excellent job of coordinating, supporting, and leading.
Emily Davis, an employee of the Center for Student Happiness (CSH), also contributed greatly to the success of the event. Kristin Smith, though new to the CSH team, also joined in the effort to make Welcome Week a wonderful time. Finally, Danielle Crowley, the leader of it all, excellently coordinated, planned, led, and encouraged. God truly blessed Regent with this team of leaders, whose prayerful attitudes and humble hearts allowed Him to work through them to make Welcome Week 2021 a success.