August 15, 2001
Six hundred Oklahoma Baptist University students are planning to leave campus on Monday afternoon, hit the streets of Shawnee, and do a little cleaning up.
The Sweep Shawnee beautification project is part of OBU's Welcome Week program. The orientation week is designed to integrate freshmen and transfer students into campus life before classes begin.
More than 150 upperclassmen, who serve as Welcome Week Workers, will join the freshmen in the effort to pick up trash and clean areas of the community. Faculty and staff also will join the effort.
Working in conjunction with Robert Rimer, Shawnee operations superintendent, the volunteers will divide into cleaning teams at Shawnee Twin Lakes, Leo Street and Airport Drive. The city provided safety pamphlets, gloves and trashbags.
"The idea for community service came from upperclassmen," said Dr. Todd Ream, OBU dean of students. "It's part of a larger effort by students on campus who are trying to work the ideals of Christian servant leadership into civic responsibilities."
This marks the first year that OBU's Welcome Week has included a community service opportunity.
"This gets the freshman thinking on those lines right from the very beginning," he said. "They see that they have a responsibility as a leader to interact with and serve the community."
An afternoon heat advisory could delay the efforts, Ream said. OBU's Aramark service will provide water for the participants, and local churches are helping with transportation.
More About Welcome Week
The theme of Oklahoma Baptist University's 2001 Welcome Week asks the question "When Was the Last Time You Left Home to Come Home?"
The university's orientation is designed to integrate freshmen and transfer students into campus life before classes begin.
Activities include small group sessions led by upperclassmen Welcome Week Workers, a "Stake Your State" picnic, to allow students to meet other students from their home states, and an ice-cream social for students and area churches to interact. Later in the week, students will experience "A Day in the Life" student life simulation, academic meetings with their advisors and deans, and a coffee shop evening fellowship featuring Jami Smith and the release party for her newest album, "Home."
New students also take part in the university's Fall Challenge evening services led by popular student communicator, Neil McClendon of Houston. Brett and Emily Mills of Bartimaeus Ministries will lead music for the services.
The week will conclude with a concert featuring Christian hip-hop group Grits.
Parents of new students also have orientation activities on Saturday including "new parent orientation," a reception with OBU's president Dr. Mark Brister, and a prayer time with all new students and parents.
Classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 22.