Baylor in search of leaders for Welcome Week

Applications to be a Welcome Week Leader closes Sunday at midnight. Lariat File Photo

By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer

New Student Programs is calling all students with a desire to serve and a passion for Baylor to apply to become a Welcome Week Leader.

Assistant Director of New Student Programs Tripp Purks said Welcome Week Leaders play a special role in making Baylor feel like home for incoming students.

Purks said Welcome Week staff are looking for students that love Baylor’s traditions, history, spirit and everything that makes Baylor a unique community.

“We really want to help students develop a sense of belonging [during Welcome Week] and take ownership of their own Baylor story, which is a really special thing that we try to do,” Purks said.

For 2018, Welcome Week is set to take place from Wednesday, Aug. 15 to Friday, Aug. 17.

Anaheim Hills, Calif. junior and former Welcome Week Leader Lili Gonzalez said leaders are asked to attend training a few days before the start of Welcome Week in order to learn their leadership styles, walk through the schedule and learn different techniques for leading groups.

“There’s not really one type of leader but just students that are interested in serving and giving back,” Purks said. “I think a lot of the times what we hear from students that do Welcome Week and that are involved in the program is that they had a great Welcome Week experience and they want to make sure that someone else has that same experience.”

Gonzalez said she wanted to become a leader because her own experience as an incoming student at Welcome Week was so positive and fulfilling.

“I wanted to be a Welcome Week leader because as a freshman who was not able to attend Line Camp, Welcome Week was the first time I was truly coming home and experiencing Baylor’s traditions,” Gonzalez said.

Houston sophomore Hope Willenborg also cites her own Welcome Week experience as the reason she decided to become a leader.

“My Welcome Week leaders poured into me before even getting to know my story and they stayed as my mentors throughout the whole year,” Willenborg said. “I had such an amazing experience when I was going through Welcome Week myself that I felt obligated to come back.”

Arlington senior Marcus Maurer said that while there was not any one thing that made him want to become a Welcome Week Leader, serving as one was when he really fell in love with the university.

At the end of Welcome Week, Welcome Week leaders are tasked with recording how often students attended events. Maurer said New Student Programs takes that information and provides it to residence halls, Student Life and all these different people so that if a Welcome Week Leader feels as though a student is having a hard time adjusting to college, Baylor will send someone to check on them.

“It was in that moment that I realized that I was at a university that wasn’t hosting events to just host events,” Maurer said. “I was at a university that is committed to making sure I found my place, and to me, that was really special.”

Purks said Welcome Week is a special time at Baylor because it is one of the few times the whole university is all about one thing — welcoming incoming students to campus.

“The whole Welcome Week program is for this incoming group of students — whether they’re coming from high school or they’re transferring from another institution or another educational experience,” Purks said. “There’s just not another time at Baylor where the whole university is kind of turned toward one group of students before classes start.”

For students who are interested, leadership applications can be accessed through New Student Program’s website or its social media pages, Purks said. The application deadline is midnight Sunday.

Following the application, students will be invited to a group interview that will take place at different times, either before or after Spring Break. Welcome Week staff’s goal is to notify applicants of their final standing toward the end of March.

Maurer said for him, the whole application process took about a month and a half and he knew he was a Welcome Week Leader before the school year ended.

Purks said leader applications are open to any type of student and no past leadership experience is necessary. The most important qualities the staff is looking for is that desire to serve and passion for Baylor.

“This is a really great way to start an involvement journey and to give back in a way that can be a really fun but really powerful experience — both for the leader and the students,” Purks said.

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