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'Rolling up their sleeves': Bemidji State athletes welcome freshmen to campus

With a full weekend of orientation activities on the docket, BSU and NTC President John Hoffman credited Beaver Athletics as just one of the things that place BSU on the map for prospective students.

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Bemidji State women’s hockey players Kate Boland, left, and Paige Anderson help incoming freshmen bring their things into Oak Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI — On a typical move-in day for Bemidji State University , several Beaver athletics teams can be seen doing the heavy lifting for freshmen living in the Oak and Tamarack Residence Halls.

This tradition was kept alive on Thursday, Aug. 18, when about 800 students flocked to campus in anticipation of the 2022-2023 school year.

“I’m most excited about meeting the new people in my classes and having narrowed down my major now that I have it set in stone,” biology sophomore and women's hockey player Taylor Larson said.

Accompanying Larson was her teammate and business management sophomore Adriana Van De Leest to help freshmen move into Oak Hall.

“I’m excited to be out of my general classes now and into my major-specific ones, meeting more people who are in my major and forming study groups. Going to the library, (it's all) super fun,” Van De Leest detailed.

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Bemidji State soccer players Lexi Johnson, left, Sylve Waters, help an incoming freshman bring her things into Tamarack Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

Van De Leest and Larson chose BSU for its hockey program along with small class sizes and ample outdoor activities right outside their Linden dorms.

Comparing Bemidji to her hometown of Nisswa, Larson added, “it’s kind of like my hometown. It’s the woods, the lakes and I love that about this campus.”

Regarding their role as the morning’s movers, Larson and Van De Leest detailed morning and afternoon shifts that student-athletes are able to sign up for.

Volunteering their time is a way for them to return the favor to the athletes who helped them move in for their freshman year last year.

“A lot of the sports teams are doing it, just getting out in the community to help people,” Larson left off.

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Bemidji State men’s basketball player Wyatt Olson, center, helps an incoming freshman load up his things to bring into Oak Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Incoming Bemidji State freshmen, with help from their families, load their things into Oak Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

John and Joy

Though BSU students and their families wouldn’t otherwise bat an eye at the move-in assistance, new Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College President John Hoffman and his wife, Joy, were pleasantly surprised.

“Frankly, our Beaver athletes have been doing such a great job of helping new students move in that I haven’t had to pick up a box yet,” John said with a laugh.

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BSU and NTC President John Hoffman and his wife, Joy, visit with Kiasa and her mother Lori Bernu as they help her son move his things into Oak Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

John assumed the presidency starting July 1, following the retirement of former president Faith Hensrud who had served BSU and NTC since 2016.

Joy, who works remotely as a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, noted the BSU culture that she feels encourages people to help others.

“I thought just some athletes would be here, but they’re everywhere. If it feels normal here at BSU, I think they need to understand that that’s not necessarily the case on other campuses,” Joy said. “That’s what I’m so excited about. People are just helping out and it’s normal for them to help out. It’s joyous to see the energy, this is what they want to do and it’s who they are.”

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Bemidji State soccer players visit with BSU and NTC President John Hoffman and his wife, Joy, visit outside of Tamarack Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

Joy found it important to accompany John for his first move-in day as a way to forge strong community connections and provide ample support for John in his presidency.

“People could ask, ‘why did you want to come for move-in day?’ and I say, ‘because this is fun for me,’” Joy added before detailing her 24 years working in higher education.

Ecstatic to have Joy by his side, John was also enamored by the energy of students he had met up until move-in day including student-athletes, student government leaders and residence hall assistants.

With a full weekend of orientation activities on the docket, Hoffman credited Bemidji State athletics as just one of the things that place BSU on the map for prospective students.

“When you see the athletes out here helping everybody move in, it’s not like they’re this privileged, elite group,” Hoffman said. “Folks are rolling up their sleeves and helping out students. That’s Beaver athletics.”

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Incoming freshman Bethanie Brooks receives her dorm information while BSU and NTC President John Hoffman and his wife Joy visit with Bethanie’s brother Davis and father David Brooks outside of Oak Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Incoming Bemidji State freshman sign in and get their dorm information outside of Tamarack Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

Orientation and welcome week

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Incoming Bemidji State freshmen, with help from their families, bring their things into Tamarack Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

BSU orientation events include the annual founder’s walk and convocation, a procession that starts at Bangsberg Hall and ends at the BSU Gymnasium. A candle-lighting ceremony then takes place as a way to symbolize a student’s induction into academic life at BSU.

NTC will host a Welcome Day event on Friday, Aug. 19, that will include an orientation program, free lunch and campus tours along with staff to answer questions regarding financial aid and admissions.

“We hope to alleviate the anxiety associated with starting college, navigating financial aid, getting books and understanding the layout of the school,” NTC Student Success Director Tyler Peterson said in a release. “We are excited to welcome students and hope for another wonderful year.”

Also included are several speaking panels, wellness events, recreation and social hours taking place through the first week of classes, which start Monday, Aug. 22, for BSU and NTC.

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Bemidji State lanyards sit on the info table outside of Oak Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, awaiting incoming freshmen during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Incoming Bemidji State freshman Gwendolyn Tucker’s mother Ericka, left, and grandmother Jean Carlson push a cart of her things toward Tamarack Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Incoming Bemidji State freshmen bring their things into Oak Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Luke and Lori Philippi help their daughter Alexis, an incoming Bemidji State freshman, bring her things into Tamarack Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Incoming Bemidji State freshmen, with help from their families, bring their things into Tamarack Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Incoming Bemidji State freshmen, with help from their families, load up their things to bring into Oak Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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Incoming Bemidji State freshmen, with help from their families, bring their things into Tamarack Hall on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during BSU move-in day.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

Daltyn Lofstrom is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer focusing on education and community stories.
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