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Aug. 29, 2016
Nearly 1,400 new Northwest Missouri State University students capped their first weekend on the campus and launched their legacies as Bearcats Sunday afternoon during the annual new student convocation,
Academic leaders encouraged students to engage and be involved in the Northwest community during the convocation at Bearcat Arena. They also outlined expectations – to learn, connect, care, practice civility and show pride – and the provided advice to the new students, imploring them to take responsibility for the academic and personal success during their years at Northwest and beyond.
Invoking the image of a blank canvas, Student Senate President Hannah Sears reflected on the new students’ potential and encouraged them to engage in their academic activities and student organizations.
“This campus has over 170 organizations, a beautifully diverse and eclectic student body, and most importantly, a vigorously supportive faculty, staff, and administration. I cannot overstate the value of forming relationships with your professors.”
She added, “Your personal invitation to participate and be a leader in anything you want was implied as soon as you stepped foot onto our campus. If you can muster up the gumption to just show up, I promise you will be embraced. While it might be overwhelming to imagine doing things on your own or without your friends from high school, I would argue that that it is when we grow the most. When we are outside of our comfort zones and fiercely pursuing our passions, it is then when we as Bearcats have the opportunity not only to thrive as individuals, but collectively as a university.”
Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski reminded the students to stay focused on their ultimate goal of earning a college degree, noting that just one-third of people in the United States complete a college degree.
“Our job is to be invested in you,” Jasinski said. “Your job is to be responsible for your own success. We want you to complete. We want you to have the end in mind.”
Provost Dr. Tim Mottet conceded to the students they will make mistakes. They will experience moments of failure and blow some assignments or exams, but their learning coincides with how they recover from those failures.
And Northwest faculty and staff are invested in helping students overcome those mistakes.
“This means our sense of job satisfaction and identify is tied to how well you perform,” Mottet said. “If you are not performing, we are not at peace with where we are as teachers and educators, and we will not be at peace or satisfied until we have figure it out.”
Sunday’s convocation was the culmination of Northwest’s annual Advantage week, which is a continuation of the University’s summer orientation programming. The weekend, which started Thursday with their move to campus residence halls, provides freshmen and transfer students with opportunities to meet people, learn more about the campus and adjust to their new environment before fall classes begin.
Advantage week includes educational activities mixed with cultural presentations and fun entertainment for students. This year, the newest students enjoyed movie nights, ice cream socials, motivational speakers, a comedian and a casino night.
Additionally, Northwest planted a tree in honor of the freshman class, continuing a University tradition that is now eight years old. The Katsura tree, which is native to Japan and China, is the first of its kind on the Northwest campus. The tree, which is planted between Colden Pond and the Robert and Virginia Foster Fitness Center, is tolerant of many conditions, provides good shade and displays beautiful colors in the fall.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468