FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – The beginning of the spring semester brought with it a week of activities aimed at welcoming students, current and new, to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This bi-annual tradition, sponsored by Student Life, is called Welcome Week.

“We don't want people to come on campus and to see empty hallways and bland walls,” says Adam Tarleton, dorm parent in Fort Worth Hall. “We want them to see smiling faces, and we want them to see people who are excited that they've come to school. We want them to see helping hands. And so that's kind of what we're there to do.”

Welcome Week kicked off with Move-in Day on Jan. 17. Student Life representatives, dorm parents and other servant-minded individuals helped new students as they came to Southwestern for the first time.

“The best aspect of Move-in Day, I think, is just getting help,” Tarleton says. “For a lot of people, you've come to a new city. For some of them, they've come to a new state. For other students, they've come to an entirely new country. And so everything's unfamiliar, everything can be a little shaky.

“It can be an incredibly lonely time for people, as well, because they've come to our campus and, unless they grew up in Fort Worth, they don't have a lot of friends, they don't have a lot of contacts, they haven't gone to their first class yet, and so [we can] be that front line—just an initial, ‘We are glad you're here, and we want to be your family.’

The night of Move-in Day, Student Life also hosted a Friday Night Social in which new and current students gathered in the Student Center for a time of fellowship. Welcome Week continued the next day with Battle of the Sexes, a trivia competition—girls vs. guys—at the Recreation Aerobics Center (RAC).

New Student Orientation followed on Tuesday, giving new students the opportunity to get acquainted with Dr. Patterson, Dr. Queen and Dr. Wilkinson, as well as finish final preparations for the coming semester.

Welcome Week continues on Thursday, Jan. 23, with Praise & Prayer Night in the Student Center, where students are invited to come and worship together, as well as participate in a guided prayer time for the upcoming semester.

The final Welcome Week event is the Spring Kickoff on Friday, Jan. 24. Southwesterners are invited to the RAC where there will be bounce houses for the kids, resources for time at Southwestern, and the bi-annual dodgeball tournament.