Preparation for the 2022 fall semester Earn Your Wings week at Oklahoma Christian University is well underway. Selected as the 2022 Earn Your Wings directors, juniors Lucas Martinez and Brittany McKnight have been planning to make the incoming freshmen’s first week experience a positive one.
Martinez has held multiple positions within the Earn Your Wings staff and said his experience and his friends’ encouragement gave him the motivation to apply for the director position.
“I have always been one to try and make a difference where I can,” Martinez said. “I really wanted this position because I want to help make the freshmen feel welcomed to OC in the fall and start them off at college on the right foot.”
McKnight said she wanted to be a director because she had a positive Earn Your Wings experience as an incoming freshman.
“It is such a fun week to meet so many people, and if I can help freshmen feel more comfortable on campus and experience a little bit of fun, I want to do that,” McKnight said.
Martinez and McKnight are working with Freshmen Experience to create a unique environment for welcoming incoming freshmen. Junior Payton Merideth, one of the Freshmen Experience interns, said she is really excited for this pair of Earn Your Wings directors.
“They are both such genuine people who want to get to know the incoming freshman and really know how to have fun and help others around them have just as much fun,” Merideth said.
The Earn Your Wings theme for the fall is “This is Our Year,” which is based around the movie “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and the summer camp atmosphere. Martinez said this theme wrapped all of their ideas into one.
“This theme gives a sense of motivation to everyone as this is indeed our year and we are all going to work together to make OC as good as we can make it,” Martinez said.
This theme coincides with some new elements to Earn Your Wings, including the Student Life team being brought back to the Earn Your Wings staff. This team will be there for the incoming freshmen to help them with any questions they may have, as well as support them throughout Earn Your Wings.
“Earn Your Wings is actually looking a lot different this year. All of our traditional events have some sort of fun twist to them,” McKnight said. “For example, the Luau is going to be called ‘Camp Jamboree.’ Another example is that the color run this year will be the ‘Survivor Fun Run,’ obviously based on the TV show ‘Survivor.’”
Merideth said elements like these are why Earn Your Wings is so important for incoming freshmen.
“College can be scary, especially if you are coming in not knowing anyone,” Meredith said. “Earn Your Wings is so important because it allows the incoming freshman to experience the campus on their own before classes get started.”
Martinez said his Earn Your Wings experience helped him get to know people and Oklahoma Christian when he knew nothing and no one coming in.
“I was once in their shoes, and I know how difficult and intimidating Earn Your Wings can be at times,” Martinez said. “I hope to make the transition to OC a fun and stress-free one.”
This introduction to Oklahoma Christian is what the Earn Your Wings team is working towards throughout the freshmen’s first college experience. McKnight said she has a piece of advice for the freshmen going into their first week of college.
“I know it is a scary week, but go to everything and be yourself,” McKnight said. “People want to get to know you and everyone is in the same boat. It is so worth it to put yourself out there and be involved.”
Merideth said mentoring can help freshmen navigate through college at the beginning.
“Some of them (the freshmen) just need that little push and reminder that this is a community that cares about them,” Merideth said.
The directors and the Freshmen Experience office are in the process of preparing the Earn Your Wings staff for their leadership roles.
“I feel like a big role like this is important because you need people who have the initiative to make sure others are put first in a situation like moving to a new school or just now going to college from the transition from high school,” Martinez said.
McKnight said Earn Your Wings is the first chance freshmen have to put their foot in the doors of college and make Oklahoma Christian their own.
“My personal experiences throughout college have taught me to be passionate about everything I do,” McKnight said. “I am so passionate about Earn Your Wings and bringing that attitude and experience will help me get to know so many people and have just the best week ever with the incoming freshman.”
Earn Your Wings will officially begin July 30 and last until August 6.
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