DBU Welcomes Largest Class in DBU History to Campus for SWAT 2021

Student at SWAT gathering

DBU eagerly opened its gates to a new class of Patriots for the 2021 Student Welcome and Transition week, more commonly known on campus as SWAT. DBU embraced the largest first-year class to ever step foot on campus this year, with over 700 new students in attendance for SWAT accompanied by over 100 upperclassman leaders. The Hill was once again alive with excitement, as both new and returning students alike dove into SWAT 2021.

The rain and gloomy weather couldn't stop DBU's SWAT moving crew from getting each new student settled into their new homes on Wednesday. Parents said their goodbyes and new Pats prepared for the journey ahead of them, the new friends, new experiences, and new memories they will make throughout their time at DBU. After months of planning and waiting, SWAT was finally in full swing.

"SWAT is definitely one of my favorite campus traditions!" says Wayne Briggs, who serves as the Director of Student Life at DBU. "One of the best parts of my job is getting to see our students get plugged in and invested in the university."

Each student was placed in one of four corps: Lexington, Yorktown, Saratoga, and Concord. These corps were one of many new aspects of SWAT 2021. "This year, we got to see some major changes and updates to SWAT, and the feedback has been incredible!" Wayne says. "Watching the students and leaders embrace old and new traditions will always be the reason I look forward to SWAT every single year."

After being introduced to their corps, students were divided into small groups led by DBU upperclassmen. During small group time, students were able to grow closer to their classmates through Bible study, games, and bonding through fellowship.

DBU clings tightly to a number of cherished SWAT traditions: the foot-washing ceremony and Candlelighting service bring small group leaders and classmates closer together through times of worship and prayer. Events like Patriots Follies, where each corps collaborate on a performance to showcase their team, Scoop and Scoot, the ice cream social held on the new intramural field, and the Block Party held near the Brownstone apartments allow first-year students to bond with one another in fellowship and fun. During the President's Reception, DBU President Dr. Adam Wright and Mrs. Candice Wright open up their home on campus to new students and shake the hands of all in attendance.

DBU does not take lightly the vision of providing a transformative experience to each of its students, and it all begins at SWAT. "SWAT has played a significant role in my life," says DBU upperclassman Elijah Ralston. Elijah served as a small group leader this past year for SWAT. "I got to meet the friends that I will be doing life with forever. I love that it is so competitive yet so Kingdom focused all at the same time." Elijah goes on to say "the people are phenomenal, their faith is obvious, and it is very difficult not to have a great time."

On Friday, August 20, small groups dispersed all across the DFW area for various service projects. Students were given the opportunity to serve in a number of ways including pantry reorganization, making meal packages for children, restocking shelves, community outreach, and more through DBU's community partners. DBU proudly partners with Mission Arlington, Brother Bill's Helping Hand, Cornerstone Baptist Church, and many others.

As SWAT came to a close and the new academic year began, DBU students joined together for the first full all-campus Chapel service since March of 2020. The Chapel worship team opened with their first original song, "Death to Life," and Dr. Wright spoke, introducing DBU's theme verse for 2021, John 15:5. Together as the DBU family, we hold fast to Dr. Wright's words: "We will not be able to be the solution this world needs apart from Christ." What a beautiful reminder it is that we are not called to walk through this life alone, evidenced by the love so freely given by our truest friend, our most faithful companion, Jesus Christ.

Written by Emmalie Ellis

Emmalie Ellis writes for the University Communications department at Dallas Baptist Univeristy.