by Adam Gaeddert
NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The parking lots were bustling as parents, Residence Life staff, returning students and even president-elect Barry Bartel turned out Aug. 25 to help incoming freshmen move into Bethel College’s three residence halls.
Meanwhile, new roommates had the opportunity to bond over the molding of furniture, appliances, books and décor into a comfortable living space.
“I tried to be more practical then sentimental [when deciding what to bring],” said freshman Aimee Siebert, Topeka. “But I still brought pictures of friends and posters from my room at home.”
Siebert and her roommate Kelly Kroeker, Hutchinson, have both gotten encouragement from parents, friends and church acquaintances who attended Bethel. “I find it comforting to come in knowing that Bethel is a sociable environment where I have connections,” said Siebert.
Then there were those students for whom coming to Bethel was a bit of a surprise. Lewis Kosjer, freshman from Douglas, had initially planned to attend Bethany College in Lindsborg on a baseball scholarship. However, on the advice of Djordje Maricic, senior from Belgrade, Serbia, and a friend of Kosjer’s from church, Kosjer agreed to take a look at Bethel. After visiting campus, meeting with faculty and receiving a forensics performance award, Kosjer decided to make Bethel his home.
This year, Bethel College welcomed a total of 106 incoming freshmen, as well as 83 transfer students from other colleges and universities. Of this year’s freshman class, 62 are men and 44 are women, coming from 13 different states and from Sweden.
Most returning and transfer students moved into residence halls on Aug. 26. Athletes participating in fall sports had already arrived on campus Aug. 21, with practices beginning the following day.
Over the next three days, before classes began Monday, Aug. 28, new students attended orientation sessions, ate dinner at the homes their liberal education advisors and had various opportunities to meet their classmates and returning students, including an ice cream social and the annual Games on the Green.
“The beginning of the year wasn’t too overwhelming, but partly because it was so busy,” Kosjer said. “They don’t give you any time to sit by yourself and worry. From the beginning, they just throw you right into the mix.”
Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at www.bethelks.edu.