The Honors College at WKU, hosts the Annual Freshman Orientation Retreat (commonly referred to as H4) to help integrate students into college life at WKU. The weekend trip is held at the Deer Run Retreat Center in Thompson’s Station, Tn. H4 features a variety of activities, including rock-climbing, swimming, information fairs, and the weekend is concluded with a bonfire Spirit Competition. H4 allows students to ease into college life by introducing them to their peers, their professors, and the many programs that the Honors College has to offer.
Sarah Kinnicutt, a French major who will be volunteering as a counselor for the second time recommends all freshmen come to H4! “It’s nice to get to know the Honors College community a little before being thrown into the huge number of people on campus for MASTER Plan,” said Kinnicutt. The counselors for H4 are upperclassmen in the Honors College. The freshmen campers are divided into four directional groups before arrival – North, South, East, and West – and then further separated into small groups based on major. Within each small group, roughly four or five campers have a counselor who meets with them regularly throughout the day and provides valuable information and a guiding hand for the students. Kinnicutt’s own counselor, Katrina Bidwell, “was a big part in my initial success at WKU. Even after the semester was well underway, she would still stop to talk to me on campus and make sure everything was going okay.”
Already, the counselors admit that plans are underway for what many consider to be the highlight of the event: The Spirit Competition. Justin Wells, a Biochemistry major, will be returning as a counselor for his third time and says that, “Very few things can get me more excited and get the adrenaline flowing than during that Spirit Competition. I was part of the winning team last year and hope to be a part of the winning team again this year!” Aside from the competition, students also have the chance to participate in a number of team-building exercises, information sessions with professors and various student organizations, and additional recreational activities such as movie nights and a game of capture-the-towel.
At the end of the weekend, students return to campus. Wells advises incoming freshman to, “Get involved as soon as possible. The more you invest yourself into this university, the more you will grow and benefit from it. Be bold and try new things. Never use the word ‘can’t.’ And always strive for excellence, but not perfection.” Kinnicutt also suggests that, “[Students] find one club or organization they are really passionate about their first semester. While it is great to be involved in many things, and you definitely should be, I would suggest finding just one that you’re willing to make a priority and fully invest yourself in.”
H4 is a wonderful opportunity that only comes once. Take advantage of it by filling out the application at http://www.wku.edu/honors/h4/ and brace yourself for the experience of a lifetime. You can check out pictures from H4 last year on the WKU Honors College Facebook page.
Arete contribution submitted by Abby Ponder.