|by Howard W. Hewitt • August 23, 2008|
More than 250 Wabash College freshmen began their four-year journey Saturday morning with registration, moving in, and making new friends.
Freshman Saturday brings the Class of 2012 to campus with their talents, skills, and expectations. It’s a day of great excitement for parents and sons, but also a day of some stress and anxiety.
Diana Moore has been through it all before but it never gets easy. Her oldest son J.T. is a senior member of the football team. Ms. Moore brought her youngest, Jake, to campus to begin his Wabash career.
"J.T. is a football player so we got to move in early when he was a freshman," she said. "But it’s a lot smoother this year because we know where the buildings are and everything."
But for this mother of three, who also has a daughter at Indiana State University, bringing Jake to campus meant no more children at home. "I’ve already been thinking about that," she admitted. "I might have to go volunteer somewhere."
That spirit of volunteering made the day easier for parents like Ms. Moore. New Wabash football Coach Erik Raeburn had some "special weightlifting" on his upperclassmen’s training schedule for the day. Raeburn sent his men throughout campus at 9:30 to help the freshman class move items into their fraternity houses and dormitorys.
The parents were openly appreciative of the unexpected help. And it seemed to help the new Wabash men feel welcomed. "It’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time," Derek Bailey '12, from Bloomington, said. "It’s good to have all the football players here. The friendly atmosphere is really sinking in. I’m excited to start my school life at Wabash."
Freshman Saturday is a new beginning for all of campus each fall. Five new tenure track professors start their Wabash careers along with the Class of 2012. New Dean of Students Mike Raters expected the afternoon colloquium with parents to really make him feel he’s settled into his new job.
"This afternoon when I’m standing in front of their parents and they start grilling me on behavior questions, security questions, alcohol questions I’ll probably start feeling it," Raters ‘85 said. "Then again tonight when we engage the students in that same sort of conversation it’ll sink in."
After the ringing in ceremony and afternoon meetings parents are expected to leave campus by 5 p.m. Raters hopes they take with them the knowledge their sons are in good hands.
"I hope they realize that we are serious about the Gentlemen’s Rule and at the same time this is a place of education where we know guys will make mistakes. We hope the mistakes aren’t major ones. This is a friendly place. Wabash is accommodating when we can be, but it’s all about personal responsibility."In photos: Above right, sophomore Jake Martin helps this mom get her freshman son acclimated to College Hall. At left, all the freshman, just like Jonathan Horn, had to have their photos take for Wabash IDs. On home page, Kenny Farris gets his registration materials.