The Welcome Week tradition introduces freshmen to Bethel culture
Culture | Betsy Wriedt
Students rushed to find seats in anticipation of The Show on Saturday, August 25. | Erin Gallagher
Hosted by the Welcome Week staff, The Show serves as a much-anticipated event to provide new students a glimpse into Bethel’s culture. The Saturday night of Welcome Week was active with Bethel students heading out early to stand in line for The Show. The freshmen had heard a lot about it, the returning students came back early for it, and even some alumni were spotted in the crowd. By the time The Show began, Benson Great Hall was packed, some students without a seat.
Varying from black light dances to skits to videos, and using themes such as Mario and Dr. Suess, Bethel jokes and lingo were woven throughout the performance. References to the awkward moments while riding in Bethel shuttles, DTRs and the dorm stereotypes were all included. Even President Jay Barnes played a role, reading from a Dr. Seuss book. The Show ended dramatically with a choreographed dance performed by the entire Welcome Week staff of about 70 people.
Senior Laura Lambert, head of the community development committee, said that The Show was not only a source of introduction to Bethel’s culture but could “really make an impact on the community. I was excited about it and I see it as a good way to share the love of Christ and share the love that we have as a community and family here at Bethel.”
While The Show was the highlight for many students on Saturday night, it has long been in the minds of many others. Lambert was chosen as the committee head last fall, and the committees began brainstorming in the spring.
As head for community development, Lambert was in charge of casting and directing the show, as well as making the final content decisions. Lambert knew it would be challenging, saying that fitting so many people in to different roles was one of the greatest difficulties. She wanted to be a part of it though, remembering it to be one of her most vivid memories of her freshman Welcome Week.
Although planning began earlier, the real crunch time took place during these past few weeks. Leah Hatzung, a junior who served as a part of Welcome Week and therefore part of The Show, said that the Welcome Week crew arrived at Bethel by August 15 and quickly began practicing.
And they practiced until the last possible moment. The night before The Show, the performers worked until 3:30 a.m. in preparation. Hatzung said the work was worth it, though, and that “the crowd was so good and encouraged us so much.”
Although she played a major role, Lambert concluded that ultimately the success of the show was due to a team effort. “I did a lot of the organizational work and made sure things would happen, but really it was the work of all the staff on Welcome Week and the work from so many other people beside me.”
With the ending of The Show, Bethel students have had to turn their gazes away from Welcome Week and toward the school year. Planning and waiting will begin all over again, and the new students this year will have an opportunity to be a part of it next year.