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The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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“Hale Yeah” Shouts Freshmen Orientation (Photo Essay)

Freshmen were welcomed with silent disco, Drover Cool Down, Battle of the Boats, and more!
Annie Roberts leads the freshmen class in singing the Alma Mater on the steps of Troutt Hall on the last day of SAWW.

USAO’s Housing and Admission crews pulled off a spectacular move-in and orientation weekend! The 2023 Science and Arts Welcome Week (SAWW) started bright and early Friday morning with freshmen move-in and closed out with the second annual Battle of the Boats event.

President Hale commented in her welcome speech Friday afternoon that the incoming freshmen class is the largest the university has seen in its 115-year history. Shepard McConnell, vice president for enrollment management and student life, said that the freshmen class also saw a large number of transfer students.

“There is power in our history. We are standing on some pretty broad shoulders, and there’s power in this room because you’re making history at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, as well. Biggest class in the history of the university, that’s you,” Dr. Hale said. “I am honored to be the 13th president and the first female president of this incredible, storied university.”

SAWW welcomed freshmen and their families onto campus from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for move in. Several athletic teams and coaches helped the freshmen moved in, including Mike Ross, athletic director; Chris Francis, head men’s basketball coach; men’s basketball players, and women’s soccer players. Joseph Quickle, Baptist Collegiate Ministry director, and Chi Alpha Ministries also assisted those moving in.

After surviving the extreme heat of move in, everyone was invited to Te Ata for a housing meeting. After the meeting concluded, parents were escorted out for a special surprise and Annie Roberts, student life and housing coordinator, kicked SAWW off with its Opening Ceremony. Roberts had the freshmen cheering with a “Hale yeah” after Dr. Hale’s speech.

After introducing themselves, the orientation leaders (OLs) split the freshmen into their respective droves, or small groups, which they would stay in for the rest of the weekend. The nine droves began their first meetings, where they got to know each other through fun games and ice breakers. In the first day, each drove decided on a name, designed a flag, and created a chant.

The Alumni dinner was the last event that parents were allowed to attend, which served hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone to enjoy. Dr. Hale, her husband, and their pup, Goldie made themselves known as they wandered through the crowds and chatted with everyone. After eating, the droves split up again and began their scavenger hunt, as each drove competed to be the best team. The scavenger hunt took the droves all around campus and gave them unique challenges at each stop, such as sleeping in an abnormal place, having a dance battle, or acting out their major. Dr. Hale and Goldie raced around with different groups and tried to help out with the clues.

The evening wrapped up with a glow party and silent disco, which was a huge hit. Many freshmen said this was their favorite memory from SAWW. Headphones were given to those who wished to participate, and they could change between three channels. Everyone from freshmen to OLs to resident assistants (RAs) enjoyed dancing and singing along to iconic tunes. On weary feet, everyone went to bed before day two began.

Saturday morning began with Learn-a-Latte, which allowed freshmen to meet their professors and advisors in a relaxed setting. Many different majors were present, from communication to deaf education to biology to business and everything in between. A quick morning meeting followed, and Roberts informed the droves who sat on top of the leaderboard, as each drove worked to earn points. After day one, Mojo Dojo Casa Drove (pink) and Guzzling Grapes (purple) were tied in first place.

The droves returned to their classrooms and began working on their skits and boats, which would take place Sunday evening. Each drove was in charge of taking USAO’s Alma Mater and making it into a skit to perform for each other and Dr. Hale. Additionally, each drove was given a cardboard box and two roles of packing tape to make a boat to test in the Lawson pool.

Saturday afternoon was filled with the Drover Cool Down, which was a water event to help beat the heat. A dunk tank was placed west of the Te Ata statute and OLs challenged their freshmen to hit the target. Those in attendance were also delighted with free snow cones from Jungle Ice. Finally, water inflatables were positioned all around the Oval in hopes everyone could cool off before attending the Grady County Fair later in the evening.

The final event for Saturday was the local fair. Each freshman was given enough tickets for three free rides, in thanks to a partnership between USAO, Chickasha’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Grady County Fair. Freshmen, OLs, and RAs enjoyed the various rides, carnival style food, and each other’s company.

Sunday was the last day of SAWW and it allowed everyone to catch up on much needed sleep before the day began. Roberts showed the updated leaderboard in the mid-morning meeting, in which Mojo Dojo Casa Drove (pink) had secured the first-place spot, but had several teams close behind. In the afternoon, the droves were given time to practice their skits in Te Ata before their 5 p.m. curtain call later that evening. After rehearsing their lines, each drove split up and gave classroom tours to ensure everyone knew where their classrooms were.

Each drove met one last time at 4 p.m. before performing their skits for everyone. The skits were judged by April Lawrence, Kyla Patterson, Bobbie Shores, and Roberts. After reviewing all nine performances, Blue’s Crews (dark blue) won with their Blue’s Clues themed skit. Next, everyone moved to the steps of Troutt Hall to sing the Alma Mater as a class and shout “Drovers” to listen to the echoes.

The last event for SAWW was the Battle of the Boats, which is by far one of the most entertaining events. Nine boats were placed in the water and only Red Rum (red) emerged victorious after a tight battle with Coy’s Mom (yellow).  Roberts then announced the winning drove was Blue’s Crews (dark blue) finished in first, after a dramatic passing of Mojo Dojo Casa Drove (pink) by only five points.

The last part of the evening was spent eating Chicken Express, playing games, and chatting with new friends before classes start Monday, Aug. 28.


Emily Loughridge is a third-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Emily Loughridge
Emily Loughridge, Editor-in-Chief
Emily is a fourth-year communication major from Union City. Emily is obtaining minors in psychology and liberal arts, as well. She has been on staff for The Trend since the fall of 2021 and loves working with the writers on ideas! Emily also works in the Sports Information Department on campus as the Student Assistant. When she isn't studying or working, Emily can normally be found watching Scrubs, Reba, or How I Met Your Mother and enjoying ice cream with her boyfriend.   Experience with The Trend: Editor-in-Chief: Dec. 2022 - present Managing Editor: May 2022 - Nov. 2022 Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022