Annelise Escher

Annelise on her May Term trip to Egypt this past summer!

Annelise Escher is a junior quantitative economics and international relations double major with a music minor.

For the past nine months I have had the absolute pleasure of being on Drake’s Peer Advisory Board (PAB) planning Welcome Weekend 2016. I remember being so impressed by the energy, dedication, and school pride exhibited in the Welcome Weekend team when I went through as a first year, so much so that I eagerly applied to be a Peer Mentor/Academic Consultant (PMAC) myself. I loved my experience interacting with new students in their first hours, days, and weeks as bulldogs.

When the opportunity to interview for one of four positions on PAB presented itself, I was intrigued but also apprehensive. I knew I loved Drake – I have at various points in my career been involved as in the Office of Admission, the Student Activities Board, Student Senate, and more- and was excited about the prospect of sharing my love on a grand scale. Nervous about the amount of responsibility, I spoke at length with my friend Sam, a sorority sister and recent Drake grad, who had served on PAB twice. She assured me that this experience was one of the most formative of her college career in terms of professional and personal development. I accepted, and in October began meeting with my three counterparts to create our vision for the next nine months of planning.

I view the Welcome Weekend program as an extension of what Drake values. This year I and the other members of the Peer Advisory Board spent hours thinking and imagining how best to fill three days of activities that set the tone for a new first year class. We redesigned a service project and fair, football tailgate, and tradition scavenger hunt (in conjunction with SAA!) to better reflect Drake’s commitment to community engagement, athletic pride, and the university’s history, respectively. More than anything, Drake’s Welcome Weekend reflects its commitment to students: I was amazed how much time and energy the entire campus, including First Year Seminar professor, PMACs, and administration put into welcoming a class they hadn’t even met yet.

I have learned so much from this process: I collaborated and contributed to a group as we created an application, conducted interviews, created leadership development weekends for PMACs, and got to interact with all levels of the student body and administration, all with the goal of creating a Welcome Weekend that truly represents Drake. Personally, this experience impressed upon me just how much Drake values its students – not many universities would entrust four sophomores with the responsibility and freedom I felt to share in this formative experience in first years’ lives. Being on the Peer Advisory Board was simultaneously one of the greatest challenges and most rewarding experiences of my college career, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity.

As our first week of classes begin this week, we are so excited to welcome all of our new first-years to Drake’s campus! Congrats to PAB and all the PMACs on an amazing Welcome Weekend! Stay tuned for more Pawprints coming your way!

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