Directing cars and unloading gear, Move in Day volunteers greeted students from the largest freshmen class in Regent University’s history to their first year.
“We had a couple of cars where we would be unloading the car, and all of a sudden four other people would come over and we’d get it done in one load and then move to the next car and get it done in five minutes,” said Josh Olson ’18 (College of Arts & Sciences), a life group leader for Regent’s Welcome Week.
Many hands made light work as life group leaders grabbed bags, supplies and furniture from the minivans, SUVs and crossovers carrying college kids onto campus.
“I watched one guy walk in with this wooden object, and all of a sudden, it just keeps on going, and keeps on going,” said Olson. “It ended up being seven or eight feet long. They were just carrying it in, and I didn’t even know what it was.”
Whether it was small items, like alphabet refrigerator magnets, or large items, like a six-foot artificial tree, freshmen put a personal touch to their new homes away from home.
“Last December, a friend who was remodeling his basement had a random tree they were going to donate to Goodwill or throw away,” said Colin Jones, an incoming freshman. “I asked, ‘Could I have this for college?’ I ended up driving home in my small car with it in the passenger seat next to me. I’ve had it for four months just waiting to have it in the room. It makes a natural barrier between the kitchen and here, and it just gives it a natural home feel.”
After a tough day of moving, unpacking and assembling in 100-degree heat, Jones and his roommate Noah Hitchcock finally found time to talk and get acquainted. Events planned for the rest of the week are designed to help students do just that.
“Each RA (resident assistant) will have close to 30 residents,” said Caleb Wood, resident director. “They will be able to have a lot of one-on-one, face-to-face conversations, as well as put on events with their life group leaders just to build community within their own halls as well as campus-wide.”
RAs underwent 10 days of resident-life training to equip themselves to help new students transition, and decorated their halls according to themes to make students feel welcome. Once upperclassmen move onto campus in the coming weekend, these RAs will be overseeing Regent University’s largest-ever on-campus student population. They fit into 210 rooms, all prepared by the work of one man and a few student workers. David Franks, maintenance supervisor for student housing, and his team replaced lights, painted walls and installed new furniture within a matter of weeks. Seeing students’ smiling faces as they arrive at their rooms, he says, is the reward.
“It’s means a lot to me for them to come here and do what they want to do and get a beautiful education, and be in a great community and environment here,” said Franks. “You can see it in their faces.”
Move in Day is the first day of Welcome Week at Regent. Sponsored by the Center for Student Happiness and supported by organizations all over campus, events are planned throughout the entire week to get freshmen ready for their first day of classes on August 22.