Universities add community service to welcoming agenda

For immediate release
August 16, 1999

Senior Staff Writer, Abilene-Reporter News
Article courtesy of the Abilene Reporter-News

Community service is a privilege, not a punishment, for local college students, and incoming freshmen will get a dose of it this week as they are welcomed to town for the fall semester.

Abilene Christian, Hardin-Simmons and McMurry universities are holding orientation sessions this week for freshmen. For the first time, community service is a part of the orientation at all three universities.

"We get all the freshmen involved in going out into the community," said Ken Morton, director of student activities and campus recreation at McMurry.

McMurry has combined community service with its freshman orientation for several years through its Servant Leadership program. But it will be a new experience for 1,100 freshmen at Abilene Christian and more than 275 at Hardin-Simmons.

"That's part of ACU - serving," said Bruce Beaver, a senior.

Beaver said the community service introduces freshmen to ACU's mission, which stresses educating students for Christian leadership. ACU students will do service projects from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Friday.

Beaver and three other ACU upperclassmen helping with orientation all agreed "Welcome Week" is vital to getting a good start in college.

"My best friends that I'll have for my whole life I met during Welcome Week," said Blake Berryhill, a senior.

Others said it's an opportunity to give back to the school they love, as well as living their Christian commitment.

"We are serving God through serving the students," said Chris Clark, a junior.

Welcome Week begins today at ACU, with registration from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Opening ceremonies will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

At Hardin-Simmons orientation begins with registration at 9 a.m. Tuesday. McMurry's VisionQuest will begin Wednesday.

Theme for this year's orientation week at Hardin-Simmons is "Taste the Excitement." Activities are planned to make new students feel at home, said Tracy Bruton, assistant director for orientation week.

"Orientation is designed to make the students feel comfortable and become familiar with the campus," Bruton said. "It is a good time for the students to get adjusted and have fun."

Some of the activities this week include the President's Picnic from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday and a banquet at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Hardin-Simmons students will do their community service projects from 2-5 p.m. Friday, followed by dinner and a pep rally.

McMurry has registered 310 freshmen, its largest class in several years, for VisionQuest. Activities begin with moving into the dorms at 11 a.m. Wednesday. A highlight of the week will be taking part in the Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience or COPE program at Camp Tonkawa near Buffalo Gap on Thursday.

Freshmen will spend the afternoon taking part in the COPE exercises and will return to campus at 6 p.m.

Another favorite at McMurry is the Slime Olympics set for 4 p.m. Friday in Wah Wahtaysee park on campus. Comedy Sportz will perform from 8:30-10 p.m. in the Mabee Room of the Campus Center.

On Sunday night a back to school dance, featuring the Austin band "The Pictures" will be held in the Mabee Room.

Volunteering to help with orientation week is considered a privilege by upperclassmen at all three universities. They see it as an opportunity to return a favor they received their first year.

"It's a way we can show we care about these freshmen," said Kendra Pulliam, a senior at ACU.

Loretta Fulton can be reached at 676-6778 or fultonl@abinews.com


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Last update: August 16, 1999
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