Buff Branding Welcomes Class of 2021

A freshman walks the stage and officially gets branded as a WT Buffalo.

Natalia Molina

A freshman walks the stage and officially gets “branded” as a WT Buffalo.

Will McAfee, Reporter

The first day of college can be the most daunting time that a student can experience. If you are one of the lucky few entering college with some friends, it can make that first day more bearable. However, if you are like others who come to college knowing no one, it can be like falling into the ocean without a life vest.

Since 1982, Buff Branding has been that life vest for incoming freshman. It is a three-day event that helps new students find the shore. However, this year’s Buff Branding was ordered differently compared to other years. This year’s Branding Ceremony was held on the first night meant to symbolize that incoming freshmen are becoming a part of the Herd that makes up WTAMU’s student body. Shandy Warren, a freshman social work major, says that the night was very fun and allowed her “establish more friends before school really starts.”

Natalia Molina

“I think it gets them excited to be at school at WT first. It helps them meet other freshmen that maybe have a lot of similarities,” said Missy Macon, the leadership coordinator for Rogers LEAD WT. “We grouped them in with people who live in the same residence halls and really just help them meet people, learn ways to get involved and learn where things are on campus so their first day isn’t so scary and they feel connected and like WT is home.”

Macon has been helping the LEAD WT scholars organize this event for the past two years. Since they have taken the helm of Buff Branding, they have implemented different activities that can help freshmen build a relationship with other incoming students such as the “Buff Mudder”, an obstacle course consisting of various barriers in mud that the students had to get through.

Natalia Molina

“I mean you don’t really have to want to be involved and it just involves you and that’s that I like about it,” freshman nursing major Cole Hall said. “Buff Branding, all this, this mud run involved everybody and helped build teams and friendships that last throughout college and life, so I really enjoyed this. It’s what I live for.”

Students also had the opportunity to meet different organizations on campus that may interest them. 52 different organizations attended the second day of Buff Branding. Rogers LEAD WT Senior Scholar, Maggie Murphy, said that meeting with these organizations gives students an opportunity to get involved in the university and “not feel like they’re just another number.”

“It also like gives them a sense of community like they’re not alone,” Murphy said. “That’s why we split them up into groups, and they can’t form cliques because in college, you know, you’re supposed to open up your boundaries and see what’s out there and make new friends that you didn’t think about before.”

Natalia Molina

The final night was titled “Ignite the Night” where students wrote down what their dreams for the upcoming semester on flash paper and threw it in the fire symbolizing that they had the chance to “ignite” their dreams here at WT. Fireworks and music from a live band filled the night officially ending the 2017 Buff Branding.