There are several events and systems Samford University has in place to help new students get acclimated to college life. Chief among these is Connections Weekend. Working hard within this event are some of Samford’s most recognizable faces in the positions of Connections Leaders. With only 100 spots to fill, it is one of the most competitive leadership positions on campus.
The leaders said they consider it an honor to be among the first faces of Samford for freshman.
“I wanted to love on these new students and make friendships with the incoming freshmen because I remember feeling so afraid and nervous when I first came to Samford,” said sophomore Connections Leader Ally Anker.
To be a Connections Leader is to be part of a group of personalities, of different schools, different years, Greek and independent, all unified in their readiness to encourage Samford’s newest additions.
“I loved getting to make memories with some of campus’ most outgoing people,” said senior Connections Leader Hollie Woodis. “You make so many close friends through both your fellow leaders and with the freshmen.”
The training process for the leaders is an important experience for them before Connections Weekend even arrives.
“Training is always such a unique opportunity to bond with upperclassmen who have a similar vision to you,” said Woodis. “Everyone is on the same page about being there to serve the freshmen, but you have so much fun while you’re doing it.”
Most importantly, the leaders can inspire the next generation of leaders on Samford’s campus. The Connections Leaders, no matter their involvement on campus, have all been inspired by their Connections Leaders from years past. Woodis remembers one of her connections leaders being her first friend in college then sorority president. Her other leader set her up with her first function date, who became a best friend.
“I wanted to be a Connections Leader to welcome in the new students as well as they had for me,” said Woodis.
While not all Connections Leaders necessarily get to see all their efforts paid off in the weekend itself, Anker did.
“My favorite memory was receiving a letter from one of my freshman girls at the end of the weekend,” she said. “She was from New Hampshire, and she felt so homesick and afraid. She said that I impacted her Samford experience just by being her friend. She said I inspired her to apply to be a leader this year.”
The online applications for Connections Leaders close on March 22 at 11:59 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions.
Kathryn Jordan, Features Editor