Say Welcome Day debuted Thursday April 19, with peer guides from an on-campus program which seeks to inspire students to explore helpful resources and activities, First Year Experience leading writing stations in the student center and the cafeteria. The event provided students with the opportunity to write a welcome note to some of the more than 1300+ individuals admitted to Harding for the fall semester.
Scott Hannigan, director of undergraduate recruiting programs and communication said Jana Rucker, vice president for university communications and marketing, pitched the idea of creating a day for Harding students to welcome future students through a friendly format, similar to Say Thanks Day.
“I consistently have said that our current students are the best recruiters,” Hannigan said. “Who better to write to the new students than those who can relate to them the most and will be walking alongside them in the fall.”
Amanda Hall, center for student success communications and event coordinator said the main idea of Say Welcome Day signifies the idea of all current and future students having at Harding.
Hall said the peer guides stations had a list of the names, hometowns and majors of the future students. Students were given postcards and encouraged to write a note to someone who had the same name, was someone from their hometown, etc.
Bison Bound co-director and freshman Lindsey Bender were involved with Say Welcome Day and recruiting freshmen and transfers for the upcoming fall semester.
“We want the new students to feel as welcome and wanted here as possible,” Bender said. “We believe a personalized note from a current student is something that will make an extra difference for students who are nervous about coming here or who are still deciding if they want to be a Bison.”
Hannigan said current students wrote notes of congratulations, the first thing to do in Searcy, what it is like to be at Harding or what they like most about Harding.
Hannigan said he believes the advancement department’s work to promote Say Thanks Day gave admissions and First Year Experience an opportunity to start a program for current students to work with incoming students in a way they understand and enjoy.
“I hope that Say Welcome Day becomes a happy and exciting day for students to look forward to,” Bender said.
Bender said she hopes Harding students will know that writing a simple note can potentially impact someone’s life for the better.