Davis & Elkins students returning to campus this weekend

ELKINS — Activities on the Davis & Elkins College campus will pick up pace this weekend as students arrive for the fall semester. First-year students will be greeted with the College’s new theme “Leading the Way” as they participate in orientation activities on Saturday and Sunday, while returning students move into residential halls on Sunday.

Although most activities are geared for students and their families, the public is invited to celebrate the beginning of a new academic year with a motivational presentation on Saturday and the Last Night of Summer Carnival on Sunday.

“The class of 2022 is about to embark upon an exciting and life-changing experience,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and D&E alumnus Scott Goddard, remembering that as a first-year student he was excited, yet fearful of the unknown.

“These worries faded quickly as I dove into New Student Orientation,” Goddard said. “The sincere hope is that the students who arrive on Saturday will have a similar experience with their orientation.”

New students and their families will have a chance to see what the Elkins area has to offer as more than 20 merchants and organization set up booths in The McDonnell Center for the orientation check-in and Welcome Fair from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Student-athletes, coaches, faculty and staff will be stationed at freshmen residential halls ready to lend a hand with the move-in process. The entire campus will have an opportunity to get acquainted at the Welcoming Picnic from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. in the Augusta Dance Pavilion. Live music will be provided by Ashley Cutlip. The 20-year-old from Jane Lew performs pop, rock and country, and has written some original tunes as well. Robert Masten, a local music teacher and owner of El Gran Sabor, will join Cutlip for the performance.

Highlighting the afternoon is the Davis & Elkins time-honored Matriculation Convocation in which members of the College Board of Trustees, senior administrators, faculty and staff welcome freshmen to the D&E community. The students will make a processional from Booth Library to Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium, much like the walk they will take for commencement. The ceremony will take place from 2:45-4 p.m. and includes an address by Frank E. Brady, an internationally known entertainer, educator and empowerment speaker.

Brady began his public speaking career while still in college. As a student leader, he was known for capitalizing on every opportunity to develop himself both professionally and culturally, maximizing his college experience. In 2007, he was selected to present and perform at The National Conference on Student Leadership in Orlando, Florida, where he won the coveted National Trendsetter Award. Since then, his services have been utilized by several organizations and he’s been highlighted in national media outlets such as Washington Examiner, BET, Fox and most recently, the Huffington Post.

After the convocation, new students, parents and family members are invited to the President’s Reception at Hearthstone beginning at 4 p.m. The event gives families a chance to connect with D&E President Chris A. Wood and First Lady Lisa Wood, as well as faculty and staff members. The reception concludes at 5:30 p.m.

That evening, new students will be entertained with the high-energy, fun-filled “Playfair: The Ultimate Icebreaker” and treated to s’mores.

On Sunday, new students will spend the day participating in the Leading the Way initiative, a series of interactive learning experiences designed to encourage students in thought and reflection about their purpose in life. Opening remarks will be given by Wood and Brady.

The initiative is made possible in part by a grant from the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education and the Council of Independent Colleges, with funding from the Lilly Endowment Inc.

Also on Sunday, returning students will check in at The McDonnell Center. The opening chapel service takes place at 8 p.m. in Robbins Memorial Chapel. The kick-off event features upbeat music led by students and a message relating to new beginnings at D&E.

The public is invited to enjoy music, carnival games and concessions at the annual Last Night of Summer Carnival from 8:30-11 p.m. on the Claude King Davis Memorial Plaza. The free event is presented by the Office of Student Life, Student Assembly and Senator Entertainment. Live music will be performed by RDGLDGRN (pronounced red gold green). With a distinctive Go-Go drumbeat native to Washington, D.C., serving as the backbone, the band takes hip-hop infused punk and indie rock to forge a new sound. They have performed across the United States and Europe.

Classes for all students begin Monday and various student-centered activities are planned throughout the week. Among those are the Leading the Way: Senator Nation Kick-off, a service learning project in which student-athletes will help clean up downtown Elkins on Monday evening.