Splash!Who says the start of school has to be boring? Barton College welcomed its students, faculty, and staff to a new academic year with the annual traditions of Bulldog Day (view photo slideshow here) and Welcome Back Barton Day.

Camp Rockfish, located at Lake Upchurch near Fayetteville, experienced an invasion on Saturday, August 23, as approximately 200 new Barton freshmen and transfer students arrived with their instructors and orientation leaders for Bulldog Day.

“The purpose of Bulldog Day is simply for the incoming freshmen class to bond and to have fun and meet their classmates, ” said Dan Kennedy, Barton’s director of new student programs and Greek life.

Of the many activities available to the students that day, two were mandatory: the group challenge course and bulldog painting. Divided according to their First-Year Seminar (FYS) classes, the students had to work together to overcome obstacles on the group challenge course. Following that, the FYS groups coated their canines with color. According to Kennedy, votes will be cast for the best bulldog at the upcoming Family Weekend event, September 26-28.

Students took advantage of the camp’s amenities, enjoying the lake, the pool, sand volleyball, and a climbing tower. Many students experienced the Blob and the Iceberg, inflatable structures anchored in the lake. The Blob, resembling a giant pillow, propelled one person at a time high into the air as another jumped onto it from a platform. The aptly named Iceberg functioned as a climbing wall from which the students could jump into the water.

Barton College President and First Lady Dr. and Mrs. Norval Kneten also attended Bulldog Day and had a chance to meet and interact with the new students.

“Susan and I had a great time with our students at Camp Rockfish. The enthusiasm and energy they were demonstrating means a great year for us,” said Dr. Kneten.

According to junior biology major and orientation leader Lyndal Brown, “Bulldog Day is a great opportunity for the freshman class to just be able to hang out together and just truly get to know each other. Instead of being thrown into a classroom and not knowing anybody, they get to ‘play’ for a whole day and by the end know many different people. As a freshman I met some of my best friends at Bulldog Day.

“This year I had the opportunity to experience Bulldog Day through different eyes. I saw freshmen who were shy begin to take on tasks and become more outgoing. I saw friendships beginning, and it was truly a magical experience.”

Music, food, and freebies greeted the campus community on the evening of Monday, August 25. Sponsored by the Wilson Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Barton College, Welcome Back Barton Day provided a festival atmosphere for new and returning students as well as faculty and staff. With booths and displays lining the brick walkways of center campus, local businesses and churches greeted the Barton community.

“We greatly appreciate all the businesses that were represented on the Barton Campus today. Our partnership with Wilson, city and county, is one of our greatest strengths. And, our students loved all the attention!” said Dr. Kneten.

Barton senior Victoria Gonzalez thinks Welcome Back Barton Day “really helps not only the freshmen know what businesses there are in Wilson, but also us upperclassmen see what new businesses have come while we were out for the summer.”

Another senior, Peter Damroth, makes it a point to attend the event each year: “I always go to Welcome Back Barton Day. There are always great vendors that can help new and current students get acquainted with businesses, companies, and just the city of Wilson in general. Music, dancing, and free stuff are always a hit with college students.”

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Questions? Please contact Ken Dozier, web services manager at Barton College, at 252.399.6596 or email kdozier@barton.edu.