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New and returning Tigers unite on the Hill for the Fall 2021 semester

August 24, 2021

East Texas Baptist University’s 2021-2022 academic year officially began with ETBU student-athletes returning to campus, August Mini-Term classes, Tiger Camp, and Move-In Day. This year, over 400 students enrolled in the August Mini-Terms, which allow completion of the equivalent semester-long courses in one-week and two-week class offerings. Fall semester classes began on Monday, August 16.

“As an East Texas Baptist grad, I know the community that ETBU surrounds students with and what that creates,” ETBU alum and Admissions Counselor Michael Sanders said. “It is awesome to help students on move-in day and to see the sparkle of excitement in their eyes as they enter their college careers. I was there once, and I'm so passionate about it that not only did I get two degrees here, but now I'm serving in a career capacity. From the moment a student steps foot on campus, the way that faculty and staff are eager to volunteer and help is not only a reflection of Christ and how He meets us all in our mess, but it's also a reflection of the community and the priority given to relationships here on the Hill.”

To help the new Tigers ease their way into college life and unite with other students, Tiger Camp welcomed over 500 incoming freshmen and transfer students into the ETBU family with a weekend of outdoor games, social events, and info sessions designed to connect them with campus life and their new college “Home on the Hill.”

“Tiger Camp helped me because it gave me the opportunity to meet students and faculty before classes started, so I didn’t feel completely lost,” freshman psychology major Brianna White shared. “The friendly environment of the ETBU campus is why I chose to come here, so I’m looking forward to meeting new people this year and building relationships.”

As incoming students engage in campus life at East Texas Baptist, the University has a full calendar packed with fall sports, student events, and scheduled breaks after a year of adjustments and changes.

“I’m excited that ETBU has returned to a more normal and social environment this semester,” junior education major Haleigh Akin said, “With the release of some of the restrictions brought upon us in 2020, we can now enjoy chapel and worship with the entirety of our Tiger family. I am also looking forward to more on-campus events and the opportunity to get acquainted with our new fellow Tigers as well!”

During the first week of classes, the University offered a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic in partnership with Walmart in efforts of increasing the vaccinated population on campus and in the community to ensure a healthier, safer environment for the Fall 2021 semester and beyond.

“Our University leadership carries the responsibility of making the ETBU campus, and each Tiger’s college life encounter the safest environment possible,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “ETBU remains committed to providing an in-person, on-campus educational experience, and we cannot wait to see students engaging in classes with faculty, fellowshipping at campus activities, and serving alongside one another in our community. ETBU will never give in, and we will never give up what God has called us to do for Him through East Texas Baptist.”

For the first time since March 2020, all students were able to attend chapel together, where Reverend James Webb, senior pastor at Bethesda Baptist Church, encouraged students to “embrace their there,” and trust that God is with them wherever they are.

“Even though we are going through some challenges right now, He is still able,” Reverend Webb preached during the chapel service. “Some of you are freshmen, and you’re coming into a situation that you’re not sure of. Or maybe some of you are seniors who are about to graduate and you don’t really know what the job market will be like once you walk across this stage. I’m here to tell you with God on our side, we can make it through any and every situation. He is a God who is able to protect, He is a God who is able to provide, He is a God who has a purpose for us that is well-pleasing in His sight. But we have to learn how to ‘embrace our there’ because we are not here by accident.”