Largest Freshman Class in Seven Years Celebrates Convocation Tradition
Freshmen from 19 states join transfer students in being welcomed to Buena Vista University by 100-plus returning students, faculty, and staff members who facilitate move-in process prior to Victory Arch tradition.
Saul Trigo III and his family pulled up to campus at Buena Vista University on Friday, the day campus faculty, staff, and fellow students welcomed the largest freshman class in the past seven years.
“I can’t believe how friendly everyone is,” said Trigo, who traveled 13 hours from Dallas, Tex. “Everyone says, ‘Hi’ and asks how we’re doing. I’m not used to all that yet.”
“It’s incredible how friendly people are here,” said Trigo’s father, Saul Trigo II.
A group of returning students joined staff members in loading Trigo’s school supplies and residence hall items before leading his family to his new home in Pierce Hall, whose top floor overlooked J. Leslie Rollins Stadium and a glistening Storm Lake. The scene repeated hundreds of times throughout the day as more than 100 BVU Move-In Day masked volunteers from the campus community welcomed 237 freshmen and a contingent of transfer students from 19 states in kicking off Welcome Week.
“We’re thrilled to have such a large group of newcomers on campus, a class whose accomplishments academically is rivaled by its success in a number of co-curricular activities. We cannot wait to see how these students grow and affect the world.”
Dr. Brian Lenzmeier, Interim President
“The staff was so helpful, making sure we had masks and plenty of water for the move,” said Pam Juarez, grandmother of BVU freshman Megan Juarez, of North Las Vegas, Nev. “It’s such a beautiful campus. Megan is very happy to be here.”
Megan Juarez, who plans to play softball for the Beavers, noted her BVU choice came down to academic and athletic opportunities, as well as affordability, thanks to scholarships and grants. She plans to study criminology and criminal justice.
Trigo III, was attracted to BVU by its wrestling program and, like Juarez, was fascinated by BVU’s new Center for Criminal Justice Studies, a place boasting a state-of-the-art simulation room and four crime-scene areas.
“I’m excited to get started,” he said.
BVU Interim President Dr. Brian Lenzmeier echoed the sentiment as he joined his wife, Betsy Lenzmeier, in telling each student how excited BVU was to have them on campus. The Lenzmeiers personally greeted every freshman and transfer student as they made their way through the BVU Victory Arch, a time-honored tradition to celebrate each student’s first day on campus.
“We did our Convocation ceremony a bit differently this year because of physical distancing efforts we’re all observing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Lenzmeier. “Rather than having the whole class pass through the Victory Arch in a quick procession, we slowed the process and had them go through one at a time, allowing us to take their photograph to mark such a significant milestone in their life. We’re thrilled to have such a large group of newcomers on campus, a class whose accomplishments academically is rivaled by its success in a number of co-curricular activities.
“We cannot wait to see how these students grow and affect the world,” Lenzmeier added. “We know they’ll also change us for the better.”
“We had the largest class of freshmen we’d had in six years in 2019,” said Kevin McIntyre, BVU Vice President for Enrollment Management as he spoke to the group. “And your class topped that one! We prayed all summer for your safe arrival.”
Following the welcome address, students divided into smaller Orientation Team groups and headed toward the Victory Arch, passing the BVU Victory Bell in the process, smiling as it was rung by freshmen Laura Bunge, of Cedar Rapids, and Joshua Tigges, of Carroll, students chosen via a Facebook questionnaire.
“It was an amazing experience to ring the bell, something I’ll remember,” said Tigges, who will study digital media.
“It was the best experience ever, a great honor,” added Bunge, who plans to major in arts management.
Following Convocation, freshmen and transfer students participated in a host of Welcome Week activities, ranging from Beaver Olympics to a campus-wide picnic to a virtual concert on Sunday evening. Classes then opened on Monday morning, marking the start of the 130th academic year at BVU.