What’s maroon and gold and full of ridiculous amounts of fun? Bobcat Welcome Week! Or, more accurately, Bobcat Welcome TWO Weeks.
School officially started at Texas State University on August 29th, and I spent the following two weeks helping to prep and put on various events in order to meet as many new students as I could. The house I live in used to sit on the river before it was moved to it’s current location near campus, and so it’s built up on stilts. We usually park our cars underneath it, but for some of our welcome week events we moved the cars and set up events underneath. We had a party one night, complete with Bluebell ice cream, fancy lights, and two-stepping, and the next night hung up a giant sheet and watched a movie from our hammocks. There’s also a river running through part of campus (I know, I was shocked too), and we invited some students to play sand volleyball with us in the nearby courts one night.
Our big finale of events was a hog roast held out on the three-tiered deck behind the men’s house. We handed out over 1,000 flyers on campus, the men stayed up all night cooking the meat, and we made two huge crockpots of baked beans and 24+ pounds of coleslaw to feed around 200 people. It was chaotic and full of energy and new faces, but was a success!
Even though I was a pretty burnt out by the end of all
our events, I could already see the fruit of our hard work and planning. I had met a number of new girls, both freshmen and transfers, and was able to help them feel connected to the community. Many of them are away from home for the first time, and it was good to see them feeling right at home in our households. I spoke with one of the girls at the movie night, and she told me that this was the first time she’d really felt at home in a group of Catholics her age. It was so encouraging to be able to be a part of that for her!
Since then, I’ve had time to take a break and recharge. It’s been hard trying to adjust to a new place, new roommates, and a new work schedule all while trying to help others feel welcomed at comfortable at Texas State. Thankfully the people here are all unbelievably
wonderful, and have helped me feel very at home in San Marcos this last month. We’ve had some more relaxed get togethers and it’s been good to see the students I met during welcome week again. I went camping at Pedernales Falls State Park one weekend, kayaked through the skyscrapers in Austin, and climbed up and over Enchanted Rock.
I’ve been able to invite students into my daily routine, show them how to pray morning prayer, drive them home after a late night of movies and ice cream, or show them how to slack line when we’re hanging out on campus. It’s amazing how God can work through such simple things to make people feel like they belong. One of my favorite things so far has been inviting students looking for friends into our spontaneous adventures. It seems like such a simple thing to invite a freshman to a drive-in movie with us, or invite a girl to dinner at the house, but it’s in those moments that I can watch them relax, laugh, and feel at home away from home. It’s incredible to watch new friendships being built, and I’ve already seen how a few of the girls have been impacted in small ways just by experiencing how we live our lives in an SPO Household.