The week leading up to classes can be stressful, especially for an incoming freshman. With book purchases, finding your classes, and syllabus week lingering over every thought, its important to take a step back and realize that college life doesn’t have to be riddled with anxiety.
Here at Sam Houston State University, the events in welcome week help get the semester started off with a bang. The weeklong event is for freshman and returning students to get a taste of what Sam Houston has to offer and a chance to get to know fellow bearkats.
There are numerous ways that a student can participate in welcome week, all of which are sponsored by the Department of Student Activities and other organizations around campus; from Casino Night and Unity fest to Kats Meow and Bearkat Picnic the options are diverse as the student body.
Students gain important connections at these events that they may not achieve anywhere else. “They are able to not only meet new and existing Bearkats, but also develop a sense of belonging on the Sam Houston State University campus.” said Program Council Assistant Director, Rachel Valle.
Students who become involved in campus culture early on can feel a deeper sense of belonging at Sam Houston. Welcome week provides connections for students that go beyond their first year, and has a lasting impact on their future career as a Bearkat.
One of the most popular events during welcome week is the Party in the Pit, put on yearly by the Resident Hall Association. Held in the prominent Old Main Pit that lies in front of Austin Hall the day before classes begin, the party gives students a time to dance the night away or lay back and eat a slice of pizza with some new friends.
“It was a lot of fun! Some people were dancing, others were just standing around and talking. I got to meet up with people that I met at Bearkat Camp and Freshman Orientation, some of them were in the same classes as me the next day so we walked together.” freshman Katlynne Wilkey said, “I was pretty nervous about going to my first college class, but meeting them at the Party at the Pit really took the edge off.”
The event was open to all, student organizations and clubs took the opportunity to hand out flyers and talk face to face about what they have to offer. The Residence Hall Association, who primarily held the event, looks forward to this event every year.
“Our main focus is letting students know what the Residence Hall Association is about. Other organizations show up and recruit or hand out business cards during the event.” Christopher Cook, the National Communications Coordinator of the Residence Hall Association said. “In future events we would like to allow student organizations and departments to have booths at the event, to provide recruiting opportunities for them.”
Students discover the wide variety of clubs and associations around campus in a calm, carefree environment. Welcome week is a tradition at Sam Houston that is ever growing, and the Program Council hopes to continue the same spirit with regularly schedule events throughout the semester. Sam Houston has a strong sense of community that is exemplified in many ways, and welcome week is just a small taste of what this university has to offer.