By Beth Sowers
HLG Public Relations
Hannibal – Nervous new students and parents arrived to the Hannibal-LaGrange College (HLG) campus Aug. 26, greeted by HLG President Woodrow Burt, and his wife, Katherine. From there they were whisked away to the appropriate residence halls where they were welcomed with music, cheers and eager returning students—the “Swarm Squad,” ready to unload the cars and get them moved into their new dorm rooms in “two minutes flat.” The Swarm Squad has become a welcome tradition at HLG, consisting this year of over 50 student leaders.
“I think this had to be one of the smoothest move-in days we have ever had,” said Tom Hufty, vice president of collegiate affairs and Swarm Squad coordinator. “Our Swarm Squad worked so well together and covered for each other whenever there was an overload at another dorm. Approximately 90 percent of all new students were moved into their dorm rooms within one hour and 45 minutes from start time. I couldn’t be more proud of the Swarm Squad. They are a special group of students.”
After getting settled into their dorm rooms, the new students as well as the HLG community participated in the traditional Walk of Honor. Faculty, staff, upperclassmen, alumni and parents lined the walkway from the Roland Fine Arts Center to the Burt Administration Building. New students walked single-file as they passed parents and HLG students and personnel cheering and encouraging each student on their new journey. The new students passed through the HLG arch where President Burt welcomed them with a handshake. Students then gathered around the Old Dutch Elm tree, nicknamed the “Trinity Tree,” located between the library and administration building for a final word of encouragement, a song, and a prayer of dedication. On Aug. 27, the new students traveled to Camp Jo-Ota in Clarence, where they spent the day bonding with their new classmates while participating in a challenge course.
Returning students were greeted with a number of changes on campus: fresh paint in numerous places, major renovations in Crouch Hall, increased outdoor lighting for added safety, security swipe entrance cards for dorms, added classroom space and department renovation in the nursing division, newly paved roadways and parking lots, etc.
HLG is currently holding its Welcome Week activities to welcome students back to school. On Aug. 29, HLG Fest, an annual event where students learn about the campus’ clubs and organizations, was held. On Aug. 30, new students took part in the annual Hannibal’s Helping Hands, a series of community service projects. This year, over 150 students went out into the Hannibal community and performed over 400 hours of community service. They were able to provide support to 17 businesses and churches, including: the Hannibal Public Library, all three Hannibal fire stations, the United Way, Red Cross, Mark Twain Riverboat, Hannibal Visitors and Convention Bureau, Douglas Community Center, as well as homes that had been ravaged by the flood earlier this year. In addition, students provided “helping hands” to Building Blocks Day Care who suffered significant damage during the flooding and is working to be able to continue to provide all their daycare services again. Sept. 1 in the morning Burt welcomed students back at the annual Convocation Chapel, where the focus was Making Your Dreams Come True. “God wants us to dream and dream big, because He’s a big God. It’s in your hands to do the dreaming, but we are here to help,” said Burt, motioning to the faculty and administration sitting behind him on the stage in Parker Theatre.
Other Welcome Week activities included a concert featuring two bands, Abandon and The Corners.
This year nearly 1200 students are enrolled at HLG from 26 states and 29 countries, with over 850 served on the Hannibal campus and 500 residing in campus housing. For more information on upcoming events, call 1-800-HLG-1119 or check the website at www.hlg.edu.