Today marks the beginning of my 16th year of welcoming college students to campus.
Most campuses I know of seem to have some sort of formal programming and process for welcoming students to campus, helping them to get moved in, and then oriented to their new community, before classes begin.
Most of us went through this process as a first-year student… once upon a time… and it may be that we have forgotten some of the emotions and overwhelming feelings of disorientation that often accompany this time of transition.
And on move-in day specifically, new students and parents are about one thing and one thing only — getting into (and then settled in) their dorm room.
So let me encourage us — each and every one of us — to be about that one thing as well.
If you’ve been invited to help with the new student move-in process, let me encourage you to leave your club, ministry or organizational information behind and simply be about welcoming these new community members to campus.
There will be time and place for recruiting these new students to come and be a part of what you’re involved with.
This day, however, is not that day.
This day needs to be about THEM.
We all want to make a great first impression — and we can have a hard time not wanting to seize EVERY opportunity, especially this first encounter — but what I fear most of us don’t realize is that to propagandize these fresh (not to mention hot, sweaty, tired and disoriented) families may actually leave them with an unflattering first impression that can be hard to overcome.
SO, as you prepare to help new students move onto campus this year… consider just wearing a name tag (or maybe a t-shirt that represents your club, ministry or organization — if the office in charge of this event deems it appropriate) and GO TO WORK!
New students and families always have the option of asking you about you (or the organization you represent)… so let’s do our best to give them the space to do just that.
What do you think?
> What challenges do you bump up against during this kind of event?
> What rules or regulations does the campus you serve put on this day?
> Do you have any powerful stories from move-in days of the past?