Each member of the student body has their own memories from Mustang Corral: the heat, the bus speed-dating game, the cabins and the heat again. But this year, Corral is getting facelift.
As the Residential Commons program begins rolling out, Mustang Corral will begin dividing Corral sites by dorm affiliation, meaning the camps, buses, cabins and RoundUp groups will be filled with new students from the same dorm.
“The goal of Corral is to make connections between the new students and SMU. With Corral organized this way, we will provide additional opportunities to connect with students they can continue relationships with back on campus,” said Lindsey Koch, Director of New Student Orientation and Student Support (NSOSS).
Corral has become a hot button issue, as junior William O’Connor who ran for Student Senate Vice President highlighted orientation as an area that needs improvement during his campaign.
“I love the idea of grouping Mustang Corral by Residential Commons. I think that part of the philosophy behind the Residential Commons model is that everyone, regardless of organizational affiliation, feels like they have a home, support group and family here at SMU,” O’Connor said. “To start building those relationships at Mustang Corral will help students feel more at home in their respective Residential Commons before school even starts.”
O’Connor has future plans to speak with the NSOSS office with his suggestions to improve the experience. O’Connor has served as both an AARO and Mustang Corral leader.
Mustang Corral director and fellow former AARO leader, sophomore Lindsay Forrister sees the change as an elimination of the awkward random encounters that come with Corral.
“At my experience at Corral, I know that while I made many close friends, there were also a million hand shakes and small talk sessions with students that I would never see again,” she said. “While I appreciated the opportunity to reach out to students I otherwise wouldn’t meet, I believe that by introducing the Residential Commons aspect the students will find comfort in knowing that the peers they encounter at Corral will be ones that they will continue to come into contact with once the school year begins.”
Forrister said that the change will allow incoming Mustangs to form strong bonds with the students they’ll be studying with, living with, dining with and getting involved on campus with over the next four years. While strengthening these bonds within the Residential Commons, Forrister hopes that the diversity of friendships made through Corral remain.
“I do hope that students will understand that their Residential Commons are not the only friendships they will find here at SMU. I encourage them to continue to get out of their comfort zones, branch out and get involved in clubs, organizations and classes their first semester so that they can meet students from all across campus,” she said.
Koch said in the future, the NSOSS hopes to assign Corral leaders to RoundUp groups based on their current or previous dorm affiliation. Small programming changes to Corral include more spirit components and working with the student