The semester kicked off with Valley Ballyhoo (a big student involvement fair) on August 17. We set up an RUF table where the campus minister, Rev. Brian Thomas, some students, and I talked to incoming students and handed out RUF cups and information about RUF at WCU. It was a lot of fun... and busy! (Hence the lack of pictures.)
Our first Large Group took place on August 21, and we continued to meet every Wednesday night for a time of fellowship, worship, and a sermon from Brain.
Brian and his wife Jessica opened their home to freshman and sophomores every week this semester for Monday Night Fellowship - a free home-cooked meal and a chance to hang out and get to know each other. We really enjoyed this and decided to continue doing Monday Night Fellowship in the spring, and to open it up to everyone! Other weekly activities this semester included Girls Night (Bible study and fellowship at my house every Thursday night), and Guys Night (hang out time and Bible study with Brian).
On September 5, we had another Not-A-Date Night. This is a favorite here at WCU, and we do it at least once every semester! We divide students up into groups of about 5-8 students, and each group eats dinner together and then participates in a group activity of some sort before joining up with the rest of the groups. It gives new students a chance to connect in a smaller (hopefully less intimidating) setting, and allows students that don't usually hang out with each other to get to know one another better. This time, the group activity was a game called "Bigger and Better". Each group started off with a paperclip, and after dinner they set out to find someone who was willing to trade them something bigger or better for the paper clip, and then they went on to trade THAT object for something bigger or better, and so on. Students came back with all kinds of crazy objects and a lot of crazy stories!
We took 30 students to the Southeastern RUF Fall Conference September 20-22. Students from Clemson, Davidson, Erskine, Furman, Johnson & Wales, NC State, UT Knoxville, Wake Forest, Winthrop, Wofford, and of course Western Carolina (about 400 total) gathered at Camp Graystone in Tuxedo, NC for a weekend of fellowship, Bible study, and enjoying the great outdoors. Unfortunately it rained most of the day on Saturday, but we still had fun! Many of the students that came were new to RUF, and I enjoyed getting to know them better and watching students form new friendships.
Fall semester is football season, and although WCU is more known for having a good marching band than a good football team, we love tailgating! Go Cats!!
In October, I attended RUF intern training in Atlanta. Training is always both challenging and encouraging, and I really enjoy spending time with the other RUF interns! There are currently a little over 100 interns total working with RUF all over the States! This training was bittersweet - most of my fellow 2nd-year interns (pictured below) will be finishing the internship at the end of this semester, and it was our last training all together! I am so thankful for the time I've gotten to spend with all of them, and I am going to miss seeing them all at training every few months!
Another favorite RUF event is our annual Hoedown! We had apple cider, homemade goodies, games, and my roommate "Hoedown Heidi" taught us some square dances and line dances!
We wrapped up the semester with a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party in December!
It has been a busy, crazy, and FUN semester! I'm enjoying some time off, and I'm glad for a chance to spend some time with family and friends in Germany, but I'm looking forward to next semester!! I still have to raise about $7,000 in order to continue working with RUF at WCU through the end of the fall semester, so if you are at all interested in making a donation, please click on the Support Me tab to find out how you can do that and where the money goes. $21,075 has already been donated for the 2013-2014 school year, and I am SO grateful to all of you have played a part in that!!
Merry Christmas, everyone!!