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Bethel welcomes class of 2026

Sophomore Erik Kargel cheers on cars driving into Freshman Hill. Members of the Welcome Week staff, Bethel Student Government and Shift Bible Study helped move incoming students into their dorms. | Sarah Bakeman

The 2022 Welcome Week move-in process brought in 441 new freshmen 

Pull. Pull. Pull. 

The cheers of Welcome Week staff, with the help of Bethel Student Government staff and Shift leaders, echoed throughout Freshman Hill as they pulled in cars, on an invisible rope, of the incoming freshman class ready to be moved into their residence hall.

Smiles adorned faces as the move-in crew as they carried everything from the freshmen’s cars: mini fridges, loveseats, suitcases, mirrors and more. While Welcome Week and the other movers were filled with enthusiasm and excitement for the newest arrivals, how do the freshmen feel? Or their parents? 

Clarion staff went to the hill on Thursday morning to interview new freshmen and their families — check it out to get to know the class of 2026. 

Josh Bergman 
Freshman Josh Bergman embraces his sister Kylie after moving into Getsch Hall. Bergman has been to campus throughout the four years Kylie attended Bethel University and feels confident in his choice to go to Bethel. “I know it will go by quick,” Bergman said. | Ella Roberts

Josh Bergman is a freshman Engineering major living in Getch Hall. His sister Kylie graduated from Bethel University in Spring 2022 and came to Welcome Week to move him in. Looking ahead to the upcoming year and his time at Bethel, Bergman said to his sister, “I remember moving you in, so I know it will go by quick.”

Question: How has welcome week been so far?

Answer: I’m excited. It’s been good. It’s just been a lot of unpacking.

Q: Did you feel the urge to get out of your car and start dancing with [Welcome Week Staff]?

A: No, no. I usually dance by myself. I’m not a public dancer.

Q: What are you looking forward to this year?

A: Meeting new people. Doing more things.

Q: Is there anything you are nervous about this year?

A: Meeting new people. Doing more things.

Q: What have you learned from your sister who has already graduated?

A: I already know the place kind of. [Kylie] talked about it a lot, so.

Rosie Penke and Aubrey Baker
Roommates Rosie Penke and Aubrey Baker pose for a photo in their Edgren room just after getting all their things brought up by Welcome Week staff. The two plan to major in biokinetics and are very excited to be on campus. “[I’m excited for] the new friendships we’ll make,” Penke said. | Ella Roberts

Edgren residents Rosie Penke and Aubrey Baker are both biokinetics majors. The two freshmen met in March while visiting Bethel for an overnight event.

“We were in the same tour group,” Penke said. “We were like, ‘Hey, let’s be roommates.’”

Q: Where are you from?

A | Penke: Well I live in Ely, MN, but I just moved here this summer from Washington.

A | Baker: I’m from Sioux Falls, SD.

Q: How has your move-in day been?

A | Baker: It’s been great.

A | Penke: They move our stuff in so fast. They got it up here before I even made it.

Q: What is one thing you are looking forward to this year?

A | Penke: Just everyone we’ll get to meet. The new friendships we’ll make.

A | Baker: Yeah, I’m excited for that.

Renee and Kevin Poppe
Parents Renee and Kevin Poppe reminisce on the days when they were students at Bethel while moving their twins, Addie and Will, into Getsch and Nelson Hall. | Sarah Bakeman

Renee and Kevin Poppe are the parents of twins Will, who moved into Getsch, and Addie, who moved into Nelson.

Q: What are your thoughts on the welcome?

A | Kevin: “I am excited and grateful, blessed.” 

A | Renee: “I am sad and happy. … They are our first and last and only.”

Gracia Lumppio
Freshman Gracia Lumppio, with her mom at her side, moves into Bodien Hall during Welcome Week and shares what she is looking forward to this year and why she chose Bethel. | Aaron Heckman

Gracia Lumppio, from Minneapolis, will major in English with a concentration in professional and creative writing, and vocal performance. She moved into Bodien Thursday.

writing and vocal performance 

Q: Where are you from?

A: Minneapolis

Q: Where are you living?

A: Bodien 

Q: What are you looking forward to most this year? 

A: “I really want to make strong relationships like the entire time and also grow in my faith.”

Q: What brought you to Bethel? 

A: “Well, I actually got a scholarship called the Act Six scholarship, and it was a major factor in my decision. It was kind of like, it was always going to be one of my top [colleges]. But when I got down to this and the last schools, I just felt like this is where I was being called.”

Greg and Delaine Elseth
Greg and Delaine Elseth share their Welcome Week experience and words of advice for their son, Aaron, a freshman who moved into Edgren Hall. | Aaron Heckman

Greg and Delaine are the parents of Aaron Elseth, a biokinetics major who moved into Edgren Thursday.

Parents of Aaron Elseth

Q: What is your son’s major? 

A: Biokinetics

Q: Which hall is Aaron living in? 

A: Edgren

Q: What did you think of welcome week and everything going on today?

A | Greg: “It’s very welcoming, exciting.”

A | Delaine: “Makes me want to be 18.”

Q: What advice do you have for Aaron as he starts college at Bethel?

A | Delaine: “Take advantage of all the opportunities to get involved in everything Bethel has to offer. I would say get plenty of sleep, but I know that’s not going to happen. And don’t date girls until at least until October, next year preferably.” 

Cars run the Welcome Week gauntlet Thursday at Bethel University. | Ella Roberts

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