Campus comes alive Sunday, Aug. 12, as the 2012 freshmen arrive for QuestWeek
By Janel Shoun-Smith on 8/9/2012
By the first day of classes, more than 100 additional students had enrolled in Lipscomb University than in fall 2011. All those students have hit the books now, with the start of classes on Monday, Aug. 20, but just a few days ago they experienced the social event of their lives: QuestWeek.
Each year freshmen and transfer students are invited to campus a week early to get to know the campus, the faculty and each other a little bit before they must put their nose to the academic grindstone.
Highlights of QuestWeek include:
- Freshmen move-in day, complete with free lunch from Walmart;
- QuestWeek Service Day, where more than 400 students fan out across the city to volunteer at more than 27 organizations;
- Initium, a formal candle-lighting ceremony to encourage academic excellence; and
- DewFest, an afternoon of frivolity with a massive slip-and-slide and plenty of Mountain Dew to drink.
Lipscomb Lends a Hand and a Free Lunch
Back to school means lots of packing and lugging boxes around, so Lipscomb faculty, staff and even some community members came out and donated their muscle power to help the newcomers.
This year’s freshmen move-in days, Aug. 12 and 13, were even more exciting with generous donations from Walmart, Kroger and various local churches. Granny White Church of Christ sponsored a free cook-out lunch for new students and their families moving in on Sunday, Aug. 12, serving 350 people a hot meal under the tent on the intramural field.
On Monday, Aug. 13, Walmart at 100 Oaks provided 600 hamburgers, hot dogs and sides for lunch at noon under the tent for families moving their kids into the residence halls.
In addition, Walmart provided a shuttle to its 100 Oaks store for families who need to make last-minute purchases. There were aisles and a check-out counter dedicated for Lipscomb students, said Garner Goode, who coordinated this year’s move-in day activities.
“The goal was to make sure the parents and students feel like Lipscomb is the place they need to be. We wanted their first impression of campus to be that we are really taking care of them. We wanted to make 2012’s new students feel better about the move-in experience than some new students may have felt in the past," said Goode.
Volunteers from Brentwood Hills, Harpeth Hills, Otter Creek, Hillsboro and Granny White churches of Christ were on hand throughout the two new student move-in days to help families carry heavy loads… even during the rain.
In addition, Kroger allowed Lipscomb to borrow a stash of grocery carts to make the moving process a little easier, and tents have been set up outside several dorms to provide shelter from rain and a spot for more complimentary snacks and beverages.
Elam is the Place to Be
This year, freshmen women at Lipscomb have a newly refurbished residence hall to enjoy. Over the summer, Elam Hall has undergone a $750,000 renovation providing new flooring, new furniture, numerous repairs, updates to the kitchen, new paint, new landscaping, a new layout for the courtyard and new décor in the lobby.
Start the Day with Service
From the beginning of their college career, Lipscomb University students are encouraged to continually serve others. In fact, Lipscomb's SALT Program requires students to engage in service activities in order to graduate, an effort designed to reinforce how service can be a part of anyone's education, career and daily life.
Each year Lipscomb freshmen and transfer students have a multitude of opportunities to serve out in the community, but one of the most popular is QuestWeek Service Day, when students head out to 27 organizations in Nashville to donate a few hours of volunteer labor.
Among the organizations that benefitted from this year's freshmen and transfer students' donation of time and effort were: Nashville Cares, Youth Encouragement Services, the Pencil Foundation, the American Red Cross, Nashville Rescue Mission, Radnor Lake State Natural Area, Feed the Children, Habitat for Humanity and more.
Clean Slates Gather at Initium
On Sunday, Aug. 19, the night before classes began for fall 2012, all freshmen and transfer students gathered in Collins Alumni Auditorium for Initium, the annual formal start of their academic journey at Lipscomb. Dressed in their finest, students hear an academic charge from the student body president, a faculty representative, the provost and Lipscomb president L. Randolph Lowry.
The highlight of the ceremony is when faculty, dressed in regalia, pass the flame of knowledge onto the students by lighting candles. The students pass the flame from candle to candle until the auditorium is full of light.
Upon leaving, students recieve a small block of slate to remind them of their status as "clean slates," ready to be written upon by Lipscomb's faculty and leaders, and celebrate the start of classes in Bison Square with a cupcake reception.
But A Little Fun Never Hurt Anybody
QuestWeek does its part to provide plenty of fun as well, providing many mixer opportunities, convenient ways to get to know the city of Nashville, and some old-fashioned silly fun.
The Quest Olympics, featuring goofy field-day style games, is a big hit each year, and Screen on the Green allowed students to relax together with a good popcorn movie. Some students signed up to take field trips to various historical sites around Nashville to learn about their adopted city.
And everyone is invited each year to DewFest – a huge soapy slip-and-slide on the Quad. Hundreds or young people sliding en masse over the grass is certainly a site to see, and a great opportunity for students to overcome shyness and just get silly.