After a year of virtual events and COVID restrictions, Mercyhurst was able to welcome the Class of 2025 in a more traditional manner. This year, students were able to experience in-person events that typically occur annually such as MAC/SAC programming, the anticipated Hypnotic Intoxication Performance, and New Student Convocation.
New Student Welcome began on Friday with students from around the globe making their way through the gates and to the residence halls which they call home for the academic year. The students were met by Resident Assistants, Laker Leaders and of course Luke the Laker. In addition, groups such as the football team and the ROTC cadets were stationed in the residence halls to help families move their student’s suitcases and mini-fridges into their rooms. Joey Franz, a junior Communications major and co-chair of MAC/SAC, oversaw events that new students attend for their first weekend at the Hurst.
On Friday night, students gathered outside the Student Union for a glow-in-the-dark mini-golf night. The nine-hole course was the first night of programming for this year’s MAC/SAC events and also served as a kick-off event for new students after a long day of moving into their campus residencies. Saturday night was Casino night, which Franz referred to as a “Mercyhurst tradition.” Students were able to earn chips in casino games run by Student Ambassadors and Laker Leaders and turn their profits into tickets for raffles at the end of the night. Some of the raffle prizes featured were a TV, several Amazon Echoes, and a $100 gift card to the Mercyhurst bookstore. The return of many of these campus traditions has been long-awaited after last year’s virtual setup. Although there are still some precautions being taken on campus, there is so much more freedom than there was last year. “The only difference from pre-vious years was the mask, which in reality isn’t even that much of a difference. We were grateful to be able to hold the events in person rather than on a virtual platform,” said Franz.
Another Mercyhurst tradition that returned for the first time since 2019 was the in-person Day of Service. Deriving from the mission of the Sisters of Mercy and their dedication to service work, this event allows new students to experience a day of volunteering outside of the gates. New students are bussed into the community where they perform service work for the day in areas across Erie. Volunteer sites differ every year, but usually include a wide range of different areas and types of work for students to engage in.
Throughout the week, students gathered together in the Grotto Commons for meals met with their Resident Assistants and worked in teams with their iMU classes and Laker Leaders. Allowing new students to arrive on campus several days before starting class gives them an opportunity to meet new friends and get acclimated before they dive into the full college experience.
New Student Welcome concluded with the New Student Convocation in the Performing Arts Center on Tuesday. This event formally welcomes students into the university and secures their status as Lakers. Following the ceremony, students scattered across campus to meet with faculty and advisors from their respective majors, giving them a chance to connect before the first day of classes on Wednesday.
With COVID limiting numerous new student welcome activities the university has come to know and love, it is wonderful to see some normalcy yet again after so long. It was wonderful to see the return of so many campus traditions this year. To the Class of 2025 and all the new students on campus, welcome to Mercyhurst! Hurst will be your home for the next four years, carpe diem.