By Madison Boboltz , Staff Writer
Maddie Lowry, a senior elementary education major, is the 2019 Stampede staff co-director. Her role on Steering Committee, the organization responsible for planning, preparing and running Stampede, is to make sure all of the available positions for wranglers, color wranglers and SWAT are filled with excellent upper-classman volunteers. Lowry also runs the Stampede staff training events in the spring, as well as the training days in August leading up to Stampede.
Lowry explained that Stampede preparation requires a lot of hard work.
“It has definitely been more than I thought it would be when I took the job. It’s kind of open-ended. I wasn’t really sure all that it would entail,” Lowry said.
Despite the many roles and responsibilities she has taken on, she has enjoyed the work she and the other members of Steering Committee have done.
“I loved the process of getting to interview all of our students for their staff positions. Getting to meet some new people and see all of their faces was really nice. So far, my favorite part has been getting to plan the banquet,” Lowry said.
The Stampede Banquet was held on March 19. All Stampede staff who had accepted positions and signed their contracts were invited to a celebration. During the celebration, Steering Committee introduced the color wranglers and announced teams.
“I am learning a lot about people and how to work well with people. There are few groups of people who would volunteer a full week of their time for no other pay except for meals from the Dining Hall. So, it’s really cool to be a part of this group of servants on campus,” Lowry said.
“The other members of Steering Committee are awesome. Our first meeting was kind of awkward because we had not yet built up a strong group dynamic, plus our meetings were at seven in the morning, so that took a little getting used to. But after we got back from Christmas, it was so much fun because we all finally opened up,” Lowry said.
She explained that all members of Steering Committee have big personalities, but they all fit together well. Everyone applies their creative gifts to their specific roles, which allows them to work together as a team.
“Steering Committee acts as the brains behind the entire operation. We are kind of in the background, running around. Each of us has a specific job, whether its planning assemblies and activities or handling budget and money. Emily Pierce, my co-director, does all of that stuff. But all of us together are the driving force behind the organization and execution of everything,” Lowry said.
Lowry noted that this year’s Steering Committee is made up of a diverse group of students.
“When we were picked originally, we talked a lot about how we might be the most diverse Steering Committee there has been in a long time, just because we have members who specialize in so many different areas. We are a good representation of the student body because we have athletes, we have someone from the Six White Horses, we have a nursing student, a pre-PT student, theatre students and education students. It’s a cool group, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I think we have been able to reach more people because of that,” Lowry said.
Lowry said the most rewarding part of being on Steering Committee is getting to see the staff with their teams during the week of Stampede. When Steering Committee’s job is difficult, they remember that getting students connected makes it all worth it.
Originally, Steering Committee was going to have five professional HSU staff members working with them to help them run Stampede and take some of the pressure and burdens off of students. However, they are now down to two professional staff members.
“The most challenging thing is nothing to do with Stampede staff, but really to do with all of the fluctuation of our professional staff this year. That’s been really hard. There’s been a lot of turnover with Haley being gone, with Michael leaving and with Adriene having a baby. They have been really flexible with each of us learning our roles, but we have also had to be very flexible and adaptable. It has been a great challenge, especially for Emily and I, but it’s also been a great learning experience,” Lowry said.
Lowry believes it is important for students and upper-classmen to take charge of Stampede because it demonstrates to incoming students that they will be welcomed and that they will have peers to look up to and learn from.
“For me entering into Hardin-Simmons University, student opinions and student voices mattered more to me because I wanted to know how the experience was actually going to be, what students actually thought. To have upper-classmen willing to volunteer is so valuable. It speaks a lot to our university and does a lot to keep incoming students connected. They have a place and a voice here too,” Lowry said.