Students gather at dawn around Flag of Freedom

Austin Mayfield, sophomore business management major, center, leads a small-group prayer during See You at the Pole Sept. 21.

Austin Mayfield, sophomore business management major, center, leads a small-group prayer during “See You at the Pole” Sept. 21.

Nate Billings

Fog floated across Missouri Southern as 40 students gathered around the Flag of Freedom.

At 7 a.m. Sept. 21, “See You at the Pole” kicked off. The event was marked with singing, praise and worship.

“It’s supposed to be a student gathering and as a campus minister, I’m keeping my hands off,” said Jon Smith, director of the Baptist Student Union.

Students organized the event, and students lead the ceremonies.

“It’s a chance for fellowship and a chance to worship my God,” said Clayton Carnahan, freshman secondary English education major.

Carnahan helped to organize the event and bring students to the pole.

“It’s really important to come together as one body,” he said.

Carnahan had participated in the event during high school and felt it should be carried on through his education. He sought help from his friend, Tylie Spruill, freshman dental hygiene major.

“It’s just an awesome opportunity being together with other believers,” she said.

However, Carnahan said he didn’t want to make people think prayer was limited to a group.

“Prayer is just as powerful wherever you are,” he said. “They can pray whenever.”

The annual event has been scheduled before classes every year. Some students, however, didn’t seem to mind the early hours.

“I’m not too thrilled with it, but I’m willing to do it,” said Jordan Wendland, freshman pre-med major.

Wendland has never been to a “See You at the Pole” event before, but he saw it as a good opportunity to display his faith.

“It uplifts God, and it also allows you to witness to others,” he said. “I want to do it again.”

The organizers said the early hours were just part of the event.

“What better way is there to start the day,” Spruill said.

Others see it as a means to work on their own beliefs.

“It’s important to grow as a Christian,” said Bryan Groves, freshman CIS major. “We want to show others that there are people that care about them.”

Groves said the early mornings were worth the trouble of getting up.

Bryndi Shirley, junior nursing major, agreed with Groves.

“I can sacrifice a morning to get up and praise God because he sacrificed so much for us,” she said.

Shirley said the meeting is a depiction of her faith and hopes others would learn from it.

By the end of the prayer session, the group had grown to around 60 people. They broke up and gathered back into smaller groups.