Danielle Schultz and Sarah Widener—Staff Writers
“For them, it was a physical, emotional, and spiritual punch to the face.”
This is what East Hall Resident Assistant Kade Krosschell said of students’ responses to Week of Welcome here at Dordt this year. “It’s a time where we show an aspect of life that you haven’t really seen or experienced before, where you are free to be who you want to be. And to give students a welcome to Dordt.”
WoW coordinator Daniel Seaman said, “My end goal is that each new student arrives on campus and has a sense that they are valued as an individual.”
The official purpose of WoW, as defined by WoW director Eric Tudor is to “eagerly incorporate incoming students into the community of Dordt College and prepare them for their collegiate experience.”
This year, there were roughly 390 WOW attendees representing 4th, 3rd, and 2nd year students along with transfer, international, and exchange students. Seaman mentioned this was different from previous years in that “all international and exchange students were involved this year.” In regards to changes made to embrace this diversity, Seaman explained, “We were more aware of some of the verbiage we were using. We avoided saying ‘freshman’ and ‘4 years.’ Instead, we said ‘incoming class’ or ‘first year students’ on all of our documents and in our verbiage.”
WoW leader Chloe Hansum said all WoW staff members are asked to fill out a survey expressing what went well and what could use improvement.
While it is great to have staff feedback, there is a bigger question: what the actual participants thought of the Week of Welcome.
Freshman Sarah Holmberg approved.
“I liked it a lot,” she said. “It was good because they tried to get you surrounded by people right away.” Although, she did admit that there were “almost too many activities.”
Abigail Barrientos agreed. “It was really fun! I feel like–they were too interested in keeping us busy so we weren’t homesick, so much so that I was overwhelmed. But I did have fun and met a lot of friendly people. My WoW group was awesome!”
Although she felt the same, Antonia Celaya embraced the craziness. “I liked the high energy and how they kept us going all the time. It was hard to be stressed out about school starting.”
Most students fell somewhere into one of these categories—acknowledging the exhaustion and occasional awkwardness of WoW, but also deeming it fun and helpful.
Although their general consensus of WOW lined up with Dordt’s goals, some of these incoming students also expressed things they would like to see changed.
Barrientos admitted it might be helpful to slow down WoW. “Maybe just don’t throw all the activities, rules and information at us at once,” she said. “We need more time to process.”
Celaya thought it might be a good idea to preview the WOW Olympics the night before “to get people excited” and “so they would know what they were doing.”
Incoming student Yuji Seo commented that individual WoW groups should spend more time together. “We don’t have any special time to focus on getting to know others really well.”
According to these incoming students, it appears that WoW achieves its goals of introducing new students to Dordt life. Week of Welcome continues to be a success.