New Student Programs brings back two-leader Welcome Week groups

New Student Programs has brought back two-person led Welcome Week groups, and encourages students to apply to lead a group next fall with a friend. Josh McSwain | Roundup

By Sydney Matthews | Staff Writer

Baylor Welcome Week leader applications are closing April 2 and this year, New Student Programs has released a new leader matching system allowing students to request to be a leader alongside another prospective leader of their choosing.

“This way, it’s not just one leader leading a whole group by themselves, but a pair of leaders that can work together. You can sign up with a friend and preference each other and we will match up those requests. … Hopefully it will be a more fun experience for leaders,” Jesse Ross, senior coordinator for welcome experiences, said.

Ross said he hopes this will also be a better experience for incoming students. Soon-to-be freshmen will be able to connect with their leaders better and create a longer lasting friendship with each other if there are two leaders to a group.

“I think it will be another layer of excitement and enjoyment for the leader to serve alongside another person. The pressure is off knowing that it is not just on one single student. I think that is also encouragement for some more introverted student leaders who want to serve not just on their own,” Megan Lassiter, assistant director of leadership and curriculum, said.

Ross said this is not the first time that Welcome Week groups have had two leaders. Before COVID-19, this was the preferred way to run Welcome Week, so he said he is excited that it is making a comeback this year.

Lassiter said a big part of Welcome Week is building community among students. She said the relationships built among students last far beyond the first week of school. A major contributor to that is the leaders and how they connect with their students.

“A lot of our Welcome Week leaders do a really good job in staying in contact with their students, but also the students are calling them for advice on professors,” Lassiter said. “Because of the relationships and the push for deeper connection, the students still stay in community event after Welcome Week is over.”

Leaders support their students by modeling healthy relationships, sharing their wisdom through their own stories and experiences and sharing their excitement alongside the incoming students they are working with.

Ross said if a student is interested in applying, they can do so by going to the New Student Programs website. There, students can find out more about the role and what the application process looks like.