By Elise Crosley | Reporter
Orientation, Line Camp and Welcome Week are some of the first moments in a Bear’s journey at Baylor. All of these programs are organized by New Student Programs. However, since most of their events happen during the summer, many students are unaware of the work they do during the school year. Nathan Shelburne, New Student Programs director, explained what him and his staff’s school year looks like.
“A lot of what we’re doing is wrapping up from the summer we just came out of, or already looking ahead for next year’s summer,” said Shelburne.
Palo Alto freshman Cailley Bryan attended the events and told of her experiences.
“One of my favorite parts of Welcome Week was how our groups were based on dorm floors, so we were able to meet the people around us. These girls are my closest friends, and it has been so fun grabbing meals and going to events together,” Bryan said.
New Student Programs develops each of these events throughout the school year, as well as working on the applications, interviews and selection process for new Line Camp and Welcome Week leaders. Future Line Camp leaders apply and are chosen in the fall. Additionally, they’re required to take a leadership course during the spring semester to prepare for the summer.
“Line camp was the best summer of my life. I love BU ‘22 so much. Having the opportunity to serve and invite them into the Baylor family is a privilege that I still cannot believe I was so blessed to receive. They are truly some of the most extraordinary, compassionate and ambitious individuals I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know, grow with and love Baylor alongside of,” said Jada Holliday, Broken Arrow, Okla. sophomore and Line Camp leader.
Much of what New Student Programs does in the fall is preparation for the January new student event called Welcome Weekend. Most students who start at Baylor mid-school year are transfer or international students. New Student Programs wanted these students to feel welcomed to Baylor as well, even though they have to miss out on all of the summer events. This is how Welcome Weekend came to be.
“It’s kind of a hybrid of Orientation elements and some Welcome Week aspects as well. We also have student leaders who serve with that program,” Shelburne said.
Since the busiest part of the job is during the summer months, New Student Programs staff members have been intentional about using the end of August and early September to relax a bit, as those few weeks are the closest thing to summer they get.
“In some ways, [planning for the programs] never really ends. In fact, we had a meeting today with one of our partners who works in the business school to already start talking about facility requests for orientation next June. It comes pretty quickly,” Shelburne said.
New Student Programs has been searching for ways to guarantee every Baylor Bear is included in these events. Many students have a difficult time making it to the summer events because they live so far away. Their team is currently searching for ways to broaden the Line Camp experience to these isolated students. According to Shelburne, they want to be sure every student has the opportunity to find community and feel welcomed into the Baylor Line.
“I love that we get to represent the best of Baylor, and what’s most inspiring about it. We get students when they’re so excited about what could be, all that Baylor will hold for them, and what their Baylor story will hold,” Shelburne said. “It’s a pretty incredible opportunity, responsibility and privilege to be able to steward that and to be able to think about how important those first few days, weeks and months are on campus. Having so much influence over those first few critical experiences is incredibly rewarding. It’s something we take really seriously, but we also believe it’s an enormous privilege.”
Applications are now open to apply to be a line camp leader. Visit here for more information.