Sometimes for Welcome Week leaders, smearing peanut butter in your hair or drinking a cup of spit just comes with the job.
In the fast-paced blur that is Welcome Week, leaders strive to make an impact on incoming students. A favorite for many is the Welcome Week show. The show has many traditional parts, including using peanut butter for different parts of your grooming routine, or spitting into an empty cup at a sleepover only for one of your friends to mistake it as a beverage.
“I actually volunteered to drink it,” said Joshua Stucky, junior math and computer science major. “But they said no.”
But the job of a Welcome Week leader is more than just theatrics. Leaders make time to contact each student during the summer and make sure they find a way to settle into their new home.
“There have been several times in my life where I have not felt welcome,” Stucky admitted. “I applied to be a Welcome Week leader because I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen to any incoming students.”
Sophomore nursing major Anna Jenkins did not know anyone at Union as an incoming freshman. During Welcome Week she met one of her very best friends and has since become close with her leader.
“I wanted to have a similar impact on students coming in, so I applied,” Jenkins said.
Welcome Week leaders do two or three training days in the spring. Come August, they also plan get-to-know-you games and activities for their groups, show them where their classes will be and give them a tour of Jackson.
Jenkins said giving people her take on Union is her favorite part about leading.
“Just getting to pour into others what people have poured into me,” she said.
As students make the step from high school to college life, Welcome Week leaders try to cushion the shock that this change can present. They use games, interpretive dances, friendship and testimonies to help ease freshmen into their new lives.
Welcome Week leader applications are available on Union’s website now. They are due by Friday, March 4 at 4 p.m.