Abilene universities welcome students to campus as classes kick off
The college is officially back in session in Abilene on Monday, as faculty cut their programs and students do their best to stay awake during lectures.
Preparation for the coming year, however, took place last week.
Each of the three private universities provides their freshmen with early memories to help them get over the nerves of being in an unfamiliar place.
“The best outcome for us is that students are able to form friendships before school starts,” said Dehlila Cantu, 20, of McMurry University Hospitality Week. “It’s a great transition for our freshmen, especially those who are away from home.”
For students participating in McMurry Welcome Week, Hardin-Simmons University Stampede, or Abilene Christian University Wildcat Week, there is a mix of fun activities and social connections and information sessions designed to prepare students for their new reality.
The fun can get exciting, like HSU’s Paint War, which takes place on Friday on the school’s intramural grounds. A day later, a sports tournament took over the grounds as the students expended energy. The students also visited the downtown Paramount Theater to watch a movie and see “Stampede” on the marquee.
ACU sent their students to SUP Abilene on Fort Phantom Hill Lake, where they took to the water on paddleboards and kayaks.
McMurry students sang karaoke on Thursday, hosted a foam party on Friday night, and headed to the Abilene Zoo for a scavenger hunt on Sunday.
There were also opportunities for growth.
McMurry students completed a number of community service projects on Friday, in places such as Kirby Lake Park, the Taylor County Expo Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Abilene and the Independent School District of Abilene.
The ACU held its sunrise devotion early Thursday morning on the front porch of its Onstead-Packer, its Bible studies building. And offered various student organizations the opportunity to recruit their potential freshmen at ACU Fest on Friday night.
HSU offered opportunities to learn more about successful models throughout the week from student leaders and faculty, while carpooling to church on Sunday.
Living in style
Some ACU freshmen won the lottery.
Those selected to spend their first year of school in the new Bullock Hall dormitory were able to move into the new facility before it opened on Friday.
And the space is state of the art.
On the first floor, just at the entrance, a kitchen and a public space welcome the students with fantastic smells.
The living space is also easy to find. There are 128 double rooms, eight single rooms and two apartment-style spaces. It also has nine study spaces for collaborative or solo work.
The four-story living quarters have women on the first and fourth floors, while men occupy the second and third.
Built on East North 16th Street near the Campus Court intersection, Bullock Hall is just the first of many changes to the dorms in this section of the university. The plans call for ACU to create a “Freshman Village” that surrounds it, building all new living spaces for new freshmen.
Bullock Hall is named after JoLynn and the late Joe Bullock, parents of ACU Board Chair April Anthony.
McDonald Hall, one of the original campus buildings from the 1920s, was demolished to build the facility.
Timothy Chipp covers education and is a general assignment reporter for Abilene Reporter-News. If you enjoy local news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.