I have this ridiculous propensity for agreeing to do things that I am not sure I can do. It’s more like a vibe of, “Of COURSE I can do that!” Until, that is, the time comes for me to do it.
Then I spend the three days before the event drinking unholy amounts of coffee and asking myself, “WHY did I ever agree to this???”
Friday, August 19 was no exception. How did I ever end up in charge of Freshman Move-in Day at my University? After all I am a walking, talking organizational nightmare. Who on earth thought this was a good idea? My first go at this in 2021 was mediocre at best, so I was hoping for progress rather than perfection.
This was part of our LAUNCH welcome program at Limestone University, where we do all we can to make our first-year students feel comfortable. As my day ended about 7 p.m., I took a final look at my step count that began at 6 a.m. The somewhat astonishing result was 21, 536. Yes—21,536 steps in one day, roughly 9 miles and climbing 22 stories.
Most of this had nothing to do with moving students into the dorms, as I only handled a few of these tasks. It generally involved running water to our assistants, showing students where the business office or health office is, or redistributing our resources to the dorm with the greatest need.
A set of walkie-talkies might be worth the money for 2023.
Like many of our volunteers, I was absolutely drained at the end of the day. Some of our Adamah Christian Leadership students put in eight full hours helping students move in and came back on Sunday to set up LAUNCH worship as well as the CommunityWorks Fair for our community partners. (By the way, I am amazed at the work ethic of this year’s Adamah group).
21, 536 steps to get our first-year students into the dorms. 21,536 steps to welcome our largest first-year class in history. 21,536 steps to make parents feel like they are leaving a student at home rather than a strange place. Maybe others do not track their step count, but it is a good bet that all of our faculty/staff/students logged hundreds of thousands to welcome our first-year group. Add to that a group of community volunteers from local churches that get our students plugged in beyond the campus.
And every step was worth it.
Limestone is unique in many ways, but we are most unique in our diversity on a very small campus. On August 19, I met students from as close as down the road in Gaffney, SC and as far away as Mexico, France, and South Africa. Can you imagine flying your child all alone over to Gaffney? Or driving up from Mexico to leave them here, and not having anyone there to welcome you?
We already have a long list of ideas to make next year’s Saints Serve Move-in Day better. But what will make it best is having more volunteers, more greeters, more people to make our students—from near and far—feel at ease in their first days on campus. Rest assured that we will start well ahead of the game next August. With your help, we can make this an amazing start for our students.
21, 536 is a lot of steps, pushing my all-time personal record. If it can make one parent feel better or one student feel more comfortable, then I will gladly do it again. I ask you to jump in with us next August to get our students off to a fantastic start—and introduce them to all the things that make Limestone special.
If we treat these students and families like family, then we can help them stay with the family for four wonderful years.