For 26 years, incoming Mustangs have had their first tastes of SMU through Mustang Corral, and on Aug. 17, a new generation of world changers will experience some of the same traditions as generations before them.
Despite the long tradition, the introduction of the new Residential Commons model has inherently changed the way Corral has run, including Corral now being a five-day orientation for first-year and transfer students with each student engaging with other residents from their Commons. These days encompass activities such as move-in, Camp Corral and Convocation.
“It helps you open yourself up,” SMU junior and second-year Armstrong Corral guide Shelby Hill said.
This year, attendees are welcomed on campus Aug 17 for move-in. Dozens of volunteers will line Bush Ave. and the Boulevard with laundry carts in hand to unload the vehicles of incoming students, creating a drive-through drop-off system. Parents will then park their vehicles and meet students at their Commons as they wait to be checked in and escorted to their rooms.
From this initial welcome, later in the evening students will then attend Kick-Off with their class as well as Home Sweet Home in each of their Commons. Each Commons is asked to prepare a tradition to acclimate students to their culture such as the annual Crum/Armstrong water balloon fight.
The next day, students are split into groups guided by SMU faculty members to attend one of 24 Dallas sites such as the Texas Theater or Perot Museum of Nature & Science for an activity called Discover Dallas. Following this, students then leave for the one-night, two-day Camp Corral, which was shortened last year.
On Thursday and Friday, students are formed into smaller groups called Round Up Groups (RUG) composed of 12 to 15 students within their Commons, which are led by Mustang Corral guides. Last semester, Corral guides underwent and application and interview process to be selected as a representative of their residential community. AARO orientation leaders also serve as a representative of each Commons and serve as a point of contact for Corral guides.
“A lot of people joke about how they bond over how terrible they think Corral is, which is why I want to be a guide,” SMU junior and second-year Loyd Corral guide Sophi Farid said. “My best friends now happened to be in my RUG group then, and while I don’t necessarily want to encourage my RUG group to be best friends, I do want them to enjoy being at camp and form true friendships.”
At the end of Camp Corral, students experience the traditional candlelight ceremony with their peers, offering time for older students to reflect on their SMU experience and share advice.
Programs continue throughout Saturday and Sunday with the traditional class photo on Dallas Hall Lawn and Night at the Club. Corral After Hours, a program focused on keeping students on campus after Corral, will also continue for Corral 2016. Last year during this event a roller-skating rink and food trucks were brought outside of Moody Coliseum.
Corral then ends with Convocation and Rotunda Passage on Sunday with this year’s ceremony marking SMU’s 102nd Opening Convocation.