August 22, 2022

‘Dedication and Love’ Hallmarks of Welcome Week


Hundreds of new students and their families buzzed about Palm Beach Atlantic’s campus last week, moving into residence halls, picking up textbooks and getting ready for the start of the 2022-23 academic year.

Upperclassmen student leaders helped new students move in. Freshman Olivia Dennis said she was impressed with “how sweet and kind and loving” the move-in crews were. The student leaders were willing to carry whatever new students brought “while powering through how tired they were,” Dennis said. “It really showed their dedication and love toward the new students and campus.”

A Steering Committee comprised of upperclassmen student leaders puts on Welcome Week activities. Brandon Martin, a senior and Steering Committee co-director, said “it was really cool being able to see how creative everyone was during Welcome Week while still implementing their faith in everything they were doing.”

New students split up into “fish groups,” comprised of other first-year students and two upperclassmen leaders to foster new friendships. Welcome Week fun began in earnest with the opening rally, where students learned the Sailfish salute, along with the cheer: “You wish/you wish/you wish you were a fish!” A variety of fun, community-building activities were scattered throughout the week.

Freshman Kenna Hompke said being on a team with her resident assistants during recreational activities was “fantastic.” Added Hompke, “They were such great teammates and such good people.”

Landon Allen, a transfer student from Tennessee, said he chose to come to PBA because “it is a good opportunity where I am able to fit in and meet new people in such a welcoming community.”

On Friday, students completed on-campus service projects coordinated by Workship, the University’s distinctive community service program that responds to human needs with Christ-like action in the community and the world. Since the University’s founding in 1968, the PBA community has volunteered more than 3.7 million hours. On Friday afternoon, faculty, staff, students and parents gathered for a prayerful celebration of the start of the year.

Throughout the week, Parents Council co-chairs Dan and Kendra Pearson answered questions and comforted parents who were dropping off their student for the first time. Parents from the same region mingled with one another and University President Dr. Debra A. Schwinn at the President’s ice cream social.

The highlight of the closing rally Saturday evening was the lip sync tradition that often draws alumni back to participate. Welcome Week concluded with worship and a foot-washing ceremony, during which top leaders washed others’ feet, modeling the example of Jesus.

Photo 1: Students play volleyball at the Rinker Athletic Campus during RAC-reation, teambuilding activities that are part of Welcome Week.

Photo 2: Student leaders wash the feet of new students at the close of Welcome Week.

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