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Aug. 27, 2017
About 1,300 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 welcome event. They outlined the expectations for being a Bearcat – to learn, connect, care, practice civility and show pride – and provided advice to the new students. They implored students to take responsibility for their academic and personal success during their years at Northwest and beyond and encouraged students to ask for help when things aren’t going so great.
“This transition is not supposed to be easy,” Northwest Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Matt Baker said. “This is a challenge you’ve taken on. But when you figure out what it takes to be successful, not only will you be successful at Northwest but in your career after graduation.”
While addressing the new students, Northwest Student Senate President Katie Brown, a senior criminology major from Carlisle, Iowa, reflected on her first days on the campus three years ago and her aspirations then to become a student leader. She emphasized the importance of learning from mistakes and challenged students to “be fearless in your endeavors to be great.”
“Make every day an opportunity for you to learn about yourself and, most importantly, learn about others,” Brown said. “After you’ve done that, do more. Do more for your community. Do more for the generations that will come after you. Do more for yourself. That is what it means to be a Bearcat.”
Interim Provost Dr. Jamie Hooyman, the University’s chief academic officer, echoed those sentiments, asking students to be wise, responsible and kind. She encouraged students to take care of their minds, bodies and spirit, go to classes, do their homework and commit to daily random acts of kindness.
“There are very few times in your life that you get to make yourself, but this one of them,” she said. “To be wise means you make good decisions. You look around you. You see what you want to do and you go for it.”
Sunday’s convocation and the traditional March to the Tower – during which new students parade under the Memorial Bell Tower at the center of campus as a symbolic beginning of their time at Northwest – 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 the new students’ moving 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.
As they enjoyed ice cream and socialized on the campus lawn afterward, new students Samantha Metternich and Kaylie Tillitt said they are taking the advice of veteran faculty, staff and students to heart.
“It was jam-packed, but it was a lot of fun. It’s good to meet new people and socialize with new students,” Metternich, an incoming freshman dietetics major from Hamilton, Illinois, said of Advantage. “I’m hearing a lot of ‘get involved’ and ‘get out there.’ Put yourself out there and try to meet new people instead of sitting back and making them come to you.”
Tillitt, elementary education major from Shelbina, Missouri, said she’s already feeling the support of Northwest’s family culture. “We’re a Bearcat family and they’re always there when you need help.”
Advantage includes educational activities mixed with cultural presentations and fun entertainment for students. This year, students enjoyed movie nights, ice cream socials, motivational speakers, magicians and a casino night. Northwest capped the weekend with the annual back-to-school fireworks show Sunday night at College Park.
Additionally, Northwest planted a tree in honor of the freshman class, continuing a University tradition that is now nine years old and aligns with the campus’ legacy as the Missouri Arboretum. The Golden Chain tree is planted north of Colden Pond near the Karen Hawkins Memorial Peace Pavilion.
“Trees play an important role on our campus,” Baker said. “Trees are a sign of hope. They are a sign of stability, and they are a sign of perseverance. Trees require nurturing. They require help, and they also have to do a lot of work on their own. Trees are a great metaphor for a college student experience.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468