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Camptexas introduces freshmen to campus life

There is no tried and true recipe for being a successful UT Austin student. But a program called Camptexas is offering some 570 incoming freshmen a head start toward making friends, learning about the UT experience and acquiring the skills it takes to be a Longhorn.

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AUSTIN, Texas– There is no tried and true recipe for being a successful UT Austin student. But a program called Camptexas is offering some 570 incoming freshmen a head start toward making friends, learning about the UT experience and acquiring the skills it takes to be a Longhorn.

Freshmen from across the country have converged on Camp Balcones Springs, just northwest of Austin, to spend three days with deans, professors and counselors ­ enabling the students to go straight to the source for information they need about college life.

An extension of freshman orientation, the first of four consecutive three-day Camptexas sessions began Monday (Aug. 11) and concludes Aug. 19. First organized by the Ex-Students' Association five years ago, the program provides an opportunity for students to interact in small groups and gain academic, as well as social, insight to the University. In addition, the upperclass counselors who already have been through UT serve as valuable resources the freshmen can reference when they arrive on campus.

"The idea is to break down the 'you're just a number' mentality that so many people have upon entering UT," said CampTexas spokesman Scott Podsim. "We want students to go beyond just feeling comfortable about coming to UT, we want them to be excited about it."

Highlights of the sessions include team building activities (including an obstacle course challenge) and discussions about academic advising and UT traditions.

Members of the Texas Pom Squad and cheerleading teams will lead a pep rally at 9 p.m. on the first night of each of the four sessions to further explain UT spirits and traditions. Everything from the A&M Hex Rally to the history of the UT mascot Bevo will be covered. The students will finish the rally in traditional UT fashion by singing The Eyes of Texas.

WHAT: Camptexas
WHERE: Camp Balcones Springs, 13 miles west of Lago Vista on Highway 1431
WHEN: Four, three-day sessions Aug. 11-13, Aug. 14-16 and Aug. 17-19.