Freshmen Take the Bravewalk
By Sara Owen, Managing Editor
Hundreds of first year UNCP students gathered on the quad by the Lowry Bell Tower on Aug. 18 at 2 p.m. where they waited for instructions to take their first mass group photograph as college freshmen.
Raul Rubiera, UNCP’s photographer, stood on top of a crane machine and took several pictures of the new students who had just finished moving into their first dorm rooms. They were then welcomed by many speakers, including Chancellor Kyle R. Carter and SGA President Biruk Kassaw, before walking to another traditional mass gathering known as Convocation.
Dressed in white “New Student Orientation” t-shirts, the new students braved the summer heat and walked the distance from the bridge outside the Mary Livermore Library to the Givens Performing Arts Center (GPAC) on the other end of campus in a UNCP tradition known as the Bravewalk.
They were led by the marching band and Chancellor Carter. This tradition symbolizes the new student’s “entrance into the UNCP community,” according to the Welcome Week booklet found on several locations on campus.
Faculty dressed in regalia welcomed the freshmen as they entered GPAC for convocation. According to Dr. Melissa Schaub, associate vice chancellor for enrollment, they stood in double lines “mirroring the way that faculty line the bridge during Commencement.”
Dr. Veronica Hardy, assistant professor of Social Work, was the main speaker addressing more than a hundred new freshmen.
Dr. Hardy has been a part of education for more than 13 years and has worked at many types of schools. She was the recipient of the UNCP 2014 Outstanding Teacher Award.
“When I think of the fact that you are here starting this phase of your education it means that you have chosen to be taken to new levels, to be escalated, to go forward,” Dr. Hardy said.
Dr. Hardy said the steps to be taken to go forward are to go to the university’s website and “learn as much as you can.” She then said to “meet with your adviser and ask questions.” She also told them to “build a support system.”
“Take steps to learn about the university and ask questions,” Dr. Hardy said.
"The students really enjoy the event," according to Dr. Schaub, "and are very impressed by each part of it, from the picture-taking to the walk with the marching band to entering GPAC through the double lines of faculty. The parents who haven't said goodbye to their students yet also find the ceremony moving."
Dr. Schaub said that one student's mother told the Director of the Advising Center that the welcome from the faculty reinforced her feeling that UNCP was the right choice.
Unofficial enrollment numbers show there are over 1,500 new students for the Fall 2014 semester and the majority are new freshmen.
According to Dr. Schaub, as of Aug. 22 the unofficial enrollment numbers are as follows:
•1,086 new freshmen
•590 new transfers
•6,302 total student body
Dr. Schaub said that the numbers provided are not the final numbers because “enrollment does fluctuate during the first two weeks, for many reasons.” The official UNCP census numbers will be available after Sept. 3.
Photo by Sara Owen. New freshmen walk across the bridge as a part of the traditional Bravewalk on Aug. 18.