The university's second-largest freshman class in history, with more than 380 students, moved in Friday, Aug. 19, greeted by orientation leaders and resident assistants with handmade signs and popsicles, although generous cloud cover (and even some rain) provided relatively mild (if humid) conditions for move-in. Undergraduate classes for the 2016-17 school year start Wednesday, Aug. 24.
Check-in officially began at 8 a.m., but new students and their families were arriving by 7:30, according to Orientation Leader Joan Dougherty, BA ’18, who was stationed outside Augustine Hall. The Office of Student Affairs typically expects to see the most activity between 8 a.m. and noon. On hand were more than 100 student workers and volunteers and more than 40 faculty and staff members, who welcomed the university’s new residents to campus by helping them and their families unload cars and by being available to answer questions related to residence and campus life.
“We couldn’t have done this without all the help from students, faculty and staff,” said Assistant Director of Residence Life Seth Oldham. “Their assistance demonstrates the best of what the UD community has to offer, and it’s a great start for new students as they get to know their student leaders and begin to emulate them.”
A group of orientation leaders waiting outside Theresa Hall to be of assistance included Katelyn Croll, BA ’19, Kelsey Morrison, BA ’18, Kate Pohl, BA ’19, and Maggie Shipp, BA ’19, as well as Clark Hall resident assistant Tara Polk, BA ’18, who all agreed that meeting the new students and sharing in this big life event of moving into university residence halls for the first time — something all of them have been through themselves in the last couple of years — is a valuable experience for everyone involved.
“They pull up and immediately see friendly faces,” said Polk. “It’s a good welcome to the UD experience, a good first impression. Right away they see teamwork and enthusiasm.”
President Thomas Keefe and his dogs, Shiloh and Bandit, were also on hand to help welcome students and families and get everyone settled in their residence halls. Keefe brought the dogs along believing their presence might help ease some of the students’ separation anxiety; he told students they could come by the President’s Office and borrow them for a while if they ever feel homesick.
And some students have come pretty far from home, so homesickness is a distinct possibility. The members of the Class of 2020 hail from 41 states, 251 cities and 12 countries, with 9,728 miles from Singapore being the farthest a new student will travel to get to the UD campus in Irving. With 54 percent of freshmen from outside of Texas, the Class of 2020 is 72 percent Catholic and boasts 11 National Merit Finalists.
“We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished today and of our student life programs; today really showed off the work we do,” said Oldham. “Living on campus for a freshman can drastically impact their experience at UD.”