Throughout July and early August, Samford University is hosting 14 send-off parties to give incoming freshmen and their parents the opportunity to meet other Samford families in their area.
It’s one more way Samford tries to connect freshman outside orientation, according to Susan Doyle, Samford’s director of parent programs. Members of student affairs divisions coordinate the events.
This year, parties are scheduled in Atlanta, Austin, Birmingham, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Houston, Huntsville, Louisville, Memphis, Mobile, Nashville, North Texas, Orlando, and Tampa. The main goal for all parties is to offer a last welcome before students arrive on campus and to answer last-minute questions while making a hometown connection.
“The parties are extremely helpful in building community, in connecting students and parents with each other,” Doyle said. Students connect with others from the area and develop a local support network that can assist with the adjustment of being a freshman in college away from home.
“Many times, students will coordinate rides together, delivery of packages between the families they meet, and create new hometown relationships at send-off parties,“ Doyle added.
Parties are held in homes or event venues in the scheduled towns. Samford staff members and leaders in the Samford Parents Association attend as well.
“We like to have parent leaders at the parties as they provide a seasoned familiar with the community,” said Doyle. “President Westmoreland has been known to make a surprise visit at some events.”
Junior Olivia Crozier from Madison, Indiana, attended a party in Louisville, Kentucky. “It was a lot of fun. I met a lot of new people and made a lot of new friends,” said Crozier. Crozier and Forrest Courtney shared their first class on campus together shortly after the party and have been best friends since.
Gerald Smith is a journalism and mass communication major and a public relations assistant in the Division of Marketing and Communication.