Each year, BJU offers special activities and opportunities for the senior class in honor of their upcoming graduation. The first of these is the Senior Picnic, which will be held on Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Activity Center. Kyle Wilcox, executive assistant to President Pettit, describes the Senior Picnic as a BJU tradition dating back to the Joneses’ presidencies. The picnic gives seniors an opportunity to celebrate their last year of undergraduate studies by enjoying some good food, spending time with friends and mingling with the Pettits, executives and faculty.

“It’s meant to be an informal celebration of this milestone,” Wilcox said, “and an opportunity for Dr. Pettit to interact with the seniors.”

There is no set agenda for the picnic, and the only goal for the event is that seniors “eat, have fun and get excited about being done with [their] schooling,” Wilcox said.

Senior Spirit Days includes a Senior Spirit Bruins home game against Columbia International University. Societies will be offered spaces for tailgating parties during the game.

A new event for Senior Spirit Days is the introduction of a one-year, student membership plan for the BJU Alumni Association. Jonathan Pait, manager of events and services for the Alumni Association, said the goal of creating a student membership is to give current students a sense of what membership in the Association is like after graduation.

Pait said that in past years most graduates joined the Association purely out of loyalty to the University. Going forward, the Alumni Association wants both current seniors and graduates to join out of a desire to advance the Association’s mission.

“Our mission is to unite friends and alumni of the institution together to advance the gospel, the University, and each other,” Pait said.

Being a member of the Alumni Association involves praying for other members and the University, giving to BJU and actively looking for ways to give to other alumni, keeping in contact with the University, networking with other alumni, recruiting new students for BJU and promoting the University.

In recent years the Alumni Association has tried to connect with students by hosting events such as the “Rush-Free Zone” for freshmen, sophomore “Halfway There” parties and several similar events. However, the Association wants to alter some of these activities to be more focused on the Alumni Association’s mission. For example, Pait said the Association is thinking about replacing the freshman “Rush-Free Zone” with a New Student Welcome. This would be an event that would allow seniors who are also student members of the Alumni Association to network with the freshmen and welcome them into campus life.

In addition, the Association is considering creating opportunities for all student members to join in prayer. This would most likely take place during Bible Conference. Pait also hopes to create opportunities for students to give to the University and others, which could be done through fundraisers or volunteer work.

To reward student effort throughout these various activities, the Association hopes to include an end- of- the- year celebration for all members that would name one student the “student alumnus of the year.”

This award would go to the student who was the most involved in events hosted by the Alumni Association throughout the year.

Plans are still tentative, but the Association wants to have the senior class’s opinion about how this new student membership should be developed, and they welcome student input.

“I want [seniors] to take an active role in how it should be set up and how it should operate,” Pait said. “This is a historic opportunity for this senior class to leave their imprint on something that has never been done before, something that is going to look forward into the future.”

A few weeks ago the Association mailed coupons to all current seniors, inviting every senior to join the Alumni Association immediately for free.

If you are a senior, fill out the required information and drop it by the Welcome Center or send it through the campus mail to take part in this unique opportunity.