By Ashley Perham
B&R contributing writer
MURFREESBORO — The Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Middle Tennessee State University kicked off the new school year by offering free, all-you-can-eat pancakes to students from 8 p.m. to midnight.
It is the second year the BCM has offered free pancakes the first week of school although they have been serving pancakes during finals week for more than 10 years.
Mark Whitt, MTSU campus minister, said the event was a great way to connect with students quickly because the event takes place on move-in day.
“It’s also an event right after the carnival, a big event on campus, and then there’s nothing planned afterwards so we were able to just continue in with a big welcome to campus,” Whitt said. “It’s a quick way to meet students in a real non-threatening kind of way.”
Around 200 students attended the event this year. Last year, around 300 students attended, but Whitt said that this year, students stuck around more after they finished eating.
“The room stayed full most of the night, but it was because people were sticking around and having conversations as well,” he said.” Last year, it was almost like people came, got pancakes and left. This year, people really stuck around and had conversations with students who were already involved with the BCM.”
Members of the BCM board and area churches came to help serve pancakes to the students. Kim Kelly, Third Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, and Amber Vaden, Calvary Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, said they enjoyed meeting the new students as they came through the pancake line.
“They were very polite and grateful for the free food,” Kelly said.
Noah Collins, president of the BCM leadership team, has helped with the pancake event both years. He said he enjoys getting to meet people from campus he has never met before.
“It’s fun. We get to see new faces that we hope to see more,” Collins said. “It’s a good way to get people in the door.”
The MTSU BCM hosts special events every night the first week of classes to welcome students to campus.
Whitt said Welcome Week is important because it is a time to make connections with students who are deciding what they are going to be involved with during their college years. “Students pretty much decide what they’re going to be involved with in the first two weeks that they are on campus,” Whitt said.
The event really starts “the semester off well because there’s a lot of energy and excitement in this place,” Whitt said.