WT Welcoming Back Students for Spring Semester

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CANYON, Texas — Warm greetings, warm clothes and warm food will greet West Texas A&M University students when they return for the spring 2023 semester.

When classes resume Jan. 17, new and returning students will be welcomed on campus via separate initiatives from the Office for Student Affairs, the Alumni Association and non-academic sorority Beta Sigma Phi.

“We are so excited for the start of this new semester and having the campus bustle again with activity,” said Dr. Chris Thomas, vice president for student affairs. “We are committed to making our new and returning students feel welcome however possible, and each of these programs exhibits true Buff spirit.”

WT faculty and staff will be out in full force across the Canyon campus and the Harrington Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center for the campus greeter program.

Volunteers work 30-minute shifts between 6:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on both Jan. 17 and 18, helping make students feel welcome on campus, as part of WT’s Start Strong initiative.

“Whether you’re a new or returning student, the beginning of the semester can be a challenging but exciting time,” said Chance Haugen, assistant vice president for campus community and engagement. “We want to make sure that students have a strong start to the semester and they know that we are here to help them in their journey. The campus greeter program is our way of getting in front of the students and being there to answer any questions that they might have.

Though WT officially will be closed Jan. 16 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, current and retired WT staff and faculty will be taking part in a random act of kindness for students in need.

For an eighth year, members of Beta Sigma Phi will yarn-bomb the campus, leaving hand-knitted scarves and caps around the Charles K. and Barbara Kerr Vaughan Pedestrian Mall and Old Main.

Each bears a note reading, “I’m not lost. If you’re cold, take me with you.”

“Several of us knit and crochet a lot,” said Dr. Jean Stuntz, retired Regents Professor of History. “We knew there were students who need a little extra during the winter. We thought it was something we could easily do there.”

Food-insecure students also may benefit from an ongoing holiday food drive organized by the WT Alumni Association.

Donations of nonperishable food items will be accepted through Jan. 19. They can be purchased locally or via a registry on Amazon, said Ronnie Hall, WT Alumni Association executive director.

Nearly 500 items have been donated since the drive began Dec. 11 to the GRAZE (Giving Relief And Customized Experiences) food pantry operated through the WT Catholic Student Center.

“WT Alumni have a giving heart, and this was an opportunity to directly impact our current student body who might be struggling to make ends meet,” Hall said. “GRAZE would love to have more people make consistent donations, and I hope this drive will inspire that so we can continue helping students in need.”

Students also will have the opportunity to win necessities for the classroom and residences through Supplies Bingo, a game night organized by the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership. The event will begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 in Legacy Hall inside the Jack B. Kelley Student Center on the Canyon campus.

Exhibiting qualities of servant leadership is a key principle of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $115 million.

 

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