The newest Auburn students are welcomed to campus by their Camp War Eagle counselor.
Each summer, you may see Auburn University students cheerfully sharing a "War Eagle!" as they work their way around campus guiding visitors on tours, or maybe they're performing an Auburn-themed skit or leading a group in a hearty Auburn cheer as they carry a sign bearing the likeness of a recent pop culture icon.
You are seeing Camp War Eagle in action, and those orange and blue-clad students are counselors welcoming Auburn's incoming freshmen and their families to campus and to college life.
At each of the 10 summer sessions, the counselors assist new students with the registration process and facilitate group discussions called Tiger Talks on topics to prepare freshmen for their Auburn experience. Along with the tours, cheers and skit performances, Camp War Eagle staff partner with the Student Government Association to host a pep rally for students and parents to promote the Auburn spirit and celebrate the Auburn family.
And that sign with Justin Timberlake's face on it? That is the group identifier, made by the Camp War Eagle counselor, to make it easy for the campers to find their respective group and counselor as they work their way around campus over the two-day session.
Counselors go through two rounds of selection interviews as well as months of preparation leading up to the summer camps. They attend 14 weeks of training sessions, take Auburn knowledge tests and participate in regular weekly skit practices, all in preparation for the arrival of the university's newest students and their parents.
But the counselors say it's all worth it to be a part of the Camp War Eagle experience.
"Being able to be that person who can ease new students' nerves and answer all their questions about Auburn, I think that's been the best part about being a camp counselor," said John Ahn, a junior studying biomedical science.
Christian Lloyd, a sophomore in chemical engineering, is a Camp War Eagle parent counselor and said she loves the enthusiasm of the parents and their desire to understand what to expect of their students' Auburn experience.
Incoming freshmen and their camp counselors arrive for the Camp War Eagle pep rally at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
"Most parents really want to know about Auburn and what it means to be an Auburn student," Lloyd said. "They have a lot of fun questions. They want to get to know us and what Auburn is about and to see that through us."
Camp War Eagle may be a learning experience for Auburn's incoming freshmen, but the counselors say participating in the program teaches them something, too, and in some ways changes their perspective on their own Auburn experience.
"I've always heard so much about 'leave Auburn better than you found it,' and I kept thinking, 'How do I do that?'" said camp counselor Dae Jackson, a junior studying journalism. "I have friends who are starting campus organizations and things like that, and I wondered, 'How do I leave my mark?' I think I've found that in Camp War Eagle because I know the students we are affecting are our legacy, and they're going to come in and leave Auburn even better than they found it."
— By Carol Nelson and Tori Rivers, Office of Communications and Marketing