New Student Programs reflects upon virtual Line Camp, prepares to hire 2021 leaders

This year, first-year Baylor students had to attend Line Camp via Zoom due to COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Mallor Siemer.

By Mallory Harris | Reporter

The summer of 2020 set a precedent by hosting Line Camp virtually. With goals set for next year, New Student Programs is starting the process of finding student leaders by hosting online information sessions.

When looking for students, Nathan Shelburne, director of New Student Programs, explained how there’s not really anything in particular they look for in potential leaders besides a love for Baylor. Thinking in terms of student leaders acting on an online platform, Shelburne said that the overall enthusiasm for new Baylor experiences is more important than ever.

“It reflects a lot of maturity to be able to say, ‘I appreciate what my own experience was, and I want to be a part of whatever your experience is going to be; it may be very different than the one I had, and that’s okay,’” Shelburne said.

While trying to keep the important aspects of Line Camp intact, it’s important to note how new it was to create online activities Shelburne said. In taking what they learned from summer 2020, Shelburne explained how New Student Programs is developing three different scenarios in preparation for summer 2021.

In relation to how the COVID-19 situation will be handled at that point, New Student Programs is developing a best-case scenario with full on-campus activities and another being completely online, the worst-case scenario, along with some middle ground ideas.

“Typically, in the fall we are looking ahead to what next summer will look like in setting up various dates and publicizing those and working with partners,” Shelburne said. “Right now, we are engaging in building out all those scenarios.”

Allen sophomore Mallory Siemer was a student leader for Line Camp 2020 and explained how all the difficulties with moving online didn’t faze her want to be a part of this new experience for students. All of the efforts New Student Programs put into the re-imagined Line Camp turned into more new students being able to participate and an experience that was better than expected, Siemer said.

“I would do it a million times more even if it was online,” Siemer said. “I love welcoming in students and meeting them and being like ‘this is Baylor,’ but there was never a moment where I was like ‘I can’t do this.’”

Virtual information sessions start this week for any interested students wanting to be a student leader in Line Camp or Orientation. The main focus of these sessions includes an overview of the application process, an opportunity for a previous student leader to share their experience and a chance for questions to be answered.

Further on in the application process, the format in which interviews happen has changed to being online, with the hopes of in-person group activities occurring once leaders have been selected. The links to both the information sessions and application can be found on the New Student Programs website.

“A main takeaway [from this past summer] was just how incredibly fortunate we are to have student leaders who invest really well in the programs,” Shelburne said.