Welcome Home


Berry College undergraduates have kicked off another academic year with the arrival of more than 600 new students.

Nearly 580 freshmen began their academic year Monday. The members of the class of 2018 moved into their rooms, with help from their parents and the Berry Bellhops. While the day was exciting, some parents had to prepare for the fact that their children are leaving home.

Hannah Gernowitz is an only child, so her mother, Cindy Gernowitz has struggled a bit watching her leave home. 

“We really tried to instill a strong foundation in her as she prepares to leave home. It definitely has been an emotional roller coaster, but we want her to be well prepared and well set because we know that God has great things for her,” Cindy Gernowitz said.

The students themselves seem to be eager to start their new adventure. Many, when asked what they were most looking forward to during this school year, said meeting new people was at the top of their list. Courtney Schaffer and Kayla Atchley had known each other for less than a week, but they acted like old friends. Atchley said when she first visited Berry, one of the things that drew her in was the friendliness of everyone she met. 

“I like the size of the school and the classes. You get to know your professors and the kids in your class. I thought that was really cool,” Schaffer said.

The Welcome Ceremony for incoming freshman, along with 36 transfer students, included, a flash mob dance performed by the resident assistants, Krannert Center Activities Board staff, Student Government, and SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising and Registration) leaders.  Students were also welcomed with words of encouragement from President Steve Briggs, Dean of Students Debbie Heida, Provost Kathy Richardson and head SOAR leader and student Leah Bolden. 

In the following days students experienced some of what daily life looks like here at Berry. The students participated in Playfair, a series of extravagant ice breakers, to allow them to get to know their fellow classmates. They also had the opportunity to work at team building skills through the Berry Outdoor Leadership Development (BOLD) program’s ropes course. 

To wrap up Viking Venture, everyone headed up to Mountain Campus for a giant slip-n’-slide and cookout. Throughout the weekend students learned what it means to be a Viking, and how they can make the most out of this new chapter of their lives.

Berry desires to bring the best out in all of their students.

In her speech Dean Heida expressed her hope for the class for 2018; “you have had inspiring histories to date—we look for more to come.”

Story by student public relations assistants Koren Shetter and Elizabeth Bradford. Photos by student photographers Lauren Neumann and Blake Childers.