Mustang Corral prepares students for new school year

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The candlelight ceremony takes place at the end of Mustang Corral. (Sidney Hollingsworth/The Daily Campus)

Olympic games, dance parties and a candle light ceremony will all be taking place in less than a week out in Texas Hill Country — about two hours away from SMU’s campus.

Mustang Corral will be introducing the Class of 2017 to SMU’s resources while also allowing the students to establish their first connections and relationships with other incoming students.

Described by some as “SMU-style” camping, the students will be housed in air-conditioned cabins with plenty of food, snacks and water.

First-years and transfer students will have the opportunity to get their questions answered, meet faculty and staff and also create their first memories of being a Mustang.

“I would definitely suggest Corral to other students because after going and coming back to campus, I immediately knew not only students but faculty and staff,” said Chanesia Johnson, an SMU senior non-traditional transfer. “Knowing these people helped me have a smoother transition into SMU.”

Students are urged to have a good attitude and engage in the activities planned at the retreat. Mustang Corral Director Kathleen Kappos, 19, suggests that students should compare each other’s schedules to see if they have the same class or break as someone else.

“It is always nice to have someone to enjoy lunch with, especially [during] those first few weeks on campus when you’re new to the college lifestyle,” Kappos said.

Corral is filled with activities that allow students to interact with one another in different ways.

“I think the diversity session is by far the most beneficial part of Corral for everyone involved, not just incoming students,” Alex Vollmer, Mustang Corral director, said.

“The session demands strong introspection and, potentially, a chance to change our own preconceived notions of who people are.”

Along with the diversity session, called Every Mustang Will Be Valued, there are small group sessions where students get a chance to utilize their Mustang Corral group leader through questions and comments; Olympic games where groups are paired up to compete against each other; and there is the memorable candlelight ceremony where students are encouraged to share their thoughts about the first weekend they spent as an SMU student.

“I would tell [students] to have a positive outlook going into Corral, keeping the true purpose of it in mind at all times and they will maximize their benefits from all of the programs we have planned,” Kappos said.

Packing list essentials include: casual comfortable clothes, tennis shoes, sleeping bag, a towel and toiletries and sunscreen. Because of the serious Texas heat during the summer months, bringing a water bottle is key to survival during Corral.

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