DBU Welcomes Incoming Class of 2024

Girl with DBU Mascot

This year, the office of Undergraduate Admissions hosted 545 incoming Freshmen and Transfer Students throughout the first five sessions of New Patriot Orientation, which took place from May 28 - June 12. The first day of each session included a virtual orientation completed at home in order to accommodate social distancing guidelines, while the evening included optional sessions.

The students who elected to attend the first day were able to participate in worship in the chapel and hear from BSM Director, Eric Bean. Carey Williams, an Admissions Counselor, shares, "Corporate worship the first night of each session was amazing because it was really the first time for almost everyone there to be able to worship alongside other believers which really made quite an impact on everyone there. Getting to see all of the students that we had worked with for months, many of which we hadn't actually met in person, was super exciting and they were all pumped at officially becoming Patriots."

Following this session, the students split up into small groups in order to get to know incoming students as well as current students. Spread around outdoors on the beautiful campus, the students enjoyed getting to meet future classmates and find new friends for their college journey. In addition, the small group leaders made the incoming students feel welcome and comfortable as they shared wisdom and insight on their time at Dallas Baptist University. Later, the incoming students joined with their parents for a Family Picnic in the Great Hall and Sadler Hall.

Students who chose to stay the night on campus were then able to check into the dorms and meet with other students for a late evening hangout at Turner Park. This event included popsicles from Steel City Pops and gave students time to continue building friendships as they participated in University life.

The second day of Orientation was fully in-person on campus and started at 9:30 am. Students and parents were welcomed to campus by Dr. Jay Harley, Vice President for Student Affairs. Following his welcome, incoming students met at the Burg for a "Life at DBU" session, while parents remained in the chapel for their own information session.

Students then spread out throughout campus to meet in small groups, giving them the chance to see familiar faces from the previous night or meet new faces for those who arrived for the second day. In order to effectively socially distance, students and parents reunited for lunch by color groups in the Dining Hall, Great Hall, and Sadler Hall. During this time, they were encouraged to discuss class scheduling, as the students' next step was to meet with an academic advisor and register for their first classes.

As students met with their respective advisors throughout campus, parents attended another Parent Session, which provided helpful information on Student Success, Campus Security, and how to help their students prepare for college in the remaining summer months. Once students completed registering for classes, they met back up with their parents and completed the final steps of registration, which included learning more about Student Life, Housing, Financial Aid, Cashier's Office, and of course, the ringing of the bell.

Ringing the Liberty Bell is an unforgettable moment because as each student rings it, the Mahler Student Center is filled with a unified roar of cheers from their Admissions Counselors, small group leaders, and other individuals who aided the students along the way. Emily Roszhart, Admissions Event Coordinator, shares her excitement about this favorite DBU event, which she loves to plan. "Ringing the bell is always my favorite part of New Patriot Orientation. The students have finally finished what can be a long day, and they are taking an exciting step into becoming an official college student. As parents watch with tears in their eyes, filming the momentous occasion, students ring the bell as hard as they can and turn around to the cheers of the Admissions staff who have worked so hard to help each student on their journey to DBU. Every single session, I get emotional at the bell, as I love watching the parents' pride as students begin their new chapter of life as official DBU Patriots."

Carly Moreno, Director of Campus Visits and Special Events, reflected on her experience of this year's NPO sessions. "Planning for Orientation during a global pandemic was certainly a challenge, but the outcome far exceeded my expectations! Families were excited to be on campus, and they followed social distancing guidelines with patience and grace. It was a joy to see parents and students get to step foot onto the campus they will soon spend the next four years on. It is a joy to plan this event to acclimate students to life on University Hill, but also to provide parents with every resource and contact they might need during their student's time at DBU."

Amid today's uncertainties, this event reminded not only Undergraduate Admissions, but DBU as a University, of God's faithfulness and provision in allowing students to participate in orientation on campus and virtually, and ultimately the joy and hope found in the Lord for the days to come.

Written by Kathleen Sotomayor

Kathleen Sotomayor is a member of University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.

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