There was a different energy on campus this week. You could feel it, and it’s not the warm summer weather or the storms from Tropical Storm Fred. Reinhardt students were back on campus. Faculty and staff welcomed students as they began their move-in the first weekend of August and continued their Flight Ready process through Aug. 14 - finalizing all the details needed to start classes on Aug. 16.
Following a year of few students roaming the campus, it felt almost normal to see students racing from one building to the next.
“At the start of Fall 2020, Reinhardt's campus center - the main thoroughfare where students walk from residence halls to classrooms - was desolate. Fall 2021, however, is full of life,” shared President Mark A. Roberts.
To end the final move-in weekend of Aug. 14-15, the Student Affairs team created a fun-filled week to kick off the semester – the Week of Welcome.
The Week of Welcome included:
- Sunday: Late Night Breakfast
- Tuesday: Common Ground worship service
- Wednesday day: Involvement Fair for students to learn about the clubs on campus
- Wednesday evening: Speed Friending to meet new students
- Thursday: New Student Induction Ceremony
- Saturday: Campus Scavenger Hunt
- Sunday: Bubble Soccer
As one faculty member stated, “these students are full of excitement. They are so ready to learn and grateful to be here.” Reinhardt is grateful for them, too.
A sacred part of the Week of Welcome is the New Student Induction Ceremony, which was held Thursday, Aug. 19, in the Falany Performing Arts Center.
Since 1999, new students formally start their Reinhardt experience at the New Student Induction Ceremony. Each student signs their name – creating a picture of the full class – on a framed print of the Honor Pledge. The signed pledge is displayed on campus until the class graduates and is retired.
The Honor Pledge serves as a reminder for students to remain committed to Reinhardt’s mission of educating the whole person and devotion to the principles of integrity, honesty, and individual responsibility – through their personal and academic endeavors.
“I believe this ceremony is important, even more so this year, as an intentional path to engage and ensure our newest community members feel a part of and a sense of belonging to the greater university community,” shared Dr. Walter May, dean of students.
This year’s keynote speaker was Reinhardt Alum Travis Johnson who attended Reinhardt, with his twin brother, from 2003-2005 after transferring from another college. Johnson began his speech encouraging the students to introduce themselves to those around them and beginning the process of expanding their community as first-year students by meeting someone new.
Johnson continued by reminding the incoming students that many of them are away from their families but not alone. By signing the Honor Pledge and Oath to the University, they have created a new family- their Reinhardt family.
Another key message was from a personal experience with a fellow student just after moving onto campus. Classes hadn’t started but he met a student named Megan. She was blind and mapping the campus with her cane to be prepared for anything – mapping her success. Her preparation and mindset changed how Johnson approached life moving forward through his preparation for success.
“Everything that you do, everything that you say or everything that you touch has to be laced with a can-do spirit, attitude and mindset,” shared Johnson.
Johnson’s closing message reinforced that life doesn’t always go to plan. While he encourages the students to be prepared and plan – things in life may not always go according to the plan and what you have personally mapped out for yourself. How you handle the unexpected can make a big difference in your success.
“The number one thing you have total and complete autonomy and control over that requires absolutely zero talent, is your attitude. You cannot do anything with a bad attitude,” said Johnson.
He addressed the challenges in our world today and charged them to think if they would be a part of the solution or part of the problem.
Johnson encouraged the students with a final thought, “you and only you are responsible for your own lives, so make it count. One day, we will be able to call you alumni!”
Reinhardt welcomes students to Fall 2021!