SRU rolls out the "Welcome" mat for move-in days
Approximately 900 first-year students arrived at Slippery Rock University Aug. 24 as "Week of Welcome" festivities began. Photo by Benton Palermo, a senior communication: digital media major from Beaver.
Aug. 24, 2017
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The cavalcade of vehicles stuffed with pillows, plastic storage bins and even a few passenger-sized teddy bears streamed through Slippery Rock University's campus beginning at 9 a.m. today, marking the official start to the University's "Week of Welcome" move-in program for more than 1,500 first-year students.
Vehicles from Florida to Alaska made their way through the steady disassembly line, unloading cargo in front of residence halls and releasing students into their first experience of college life. More than 600 volunteers representing SRU faculty, staff and returning students greeted more than 900 arriving students Thursday with another 600 to follow Friday.
"It was a really quick process," said Vanessa Adams, a freshman exercise science major from Lower Burrell, who was among the first scheduled arrivals at Building A. "I'm excited for all the activities they have planned and being able to meet everyone. Everyone is so nice and welcoming."
Volunteers like Paul Falso, assistant professor of biology, directed traffic, greeted people as they pulled up to the curb and arranged for additional volunteers to carry their pre-labeled belongings or load them onto wheeled carts.
"You're making the first contact with students and their parents and making a good first impression that sets the tone for their academic careers and what they can expect through interacting with faculty," said Falso, who, in his fifth year of volunteering, helped students move into Watson Hall. "We stress making connections with the students. It's the same kind of connection I try to make in my classroom as well, trying to keep everything friendly. We joke with them about it later, saying, 'I carried that case of Ramen noodles' or 'I carried your TV.'"
Or, for one student, "I called AAA for you!" That's what happened to Gianna Brandy, a freshman special education and early childhood major from Bridgeville, who waited for a locksmith that a volunteer called after her mother locked all their stuff, including the keys, in their SUV moments after she set her first foot on campus. Brandy and her mother at least had a sense of humor about it and were thankful for the volunteers.
"It's a hectic day for everybody and for a lot of them there's emotion with dropping their kids off," Falso said. "Everybody is trying to get through as efficiently as possible. It's really well organized."
A set of twins from Clymer, New York, were perhaps the most organized. Madalyn Bestine, a freshman psychology major who was moving into Building A, and her twin brother Mack Bestine, a freshman secondary education/foundations of education major moving into Building B, had all of Madalyn's belongings labeled with pink tape and Mack's with blue tape. Their family borrowed a box utility trailer from a friend who owns a bike shop, with each sibling claiming their own side of the trailer.
Three cars with Alaska licenses plates pulled up to Watson Hall, completing the month-long journey to SRU for Victoria Moloney, a junior elementary education and early childhood major from North Huntington. Moloney transferred to SRU from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she was a commuter student. Her parents are originally from western Pennsylvania but live in Alaska, where her father, Rick, works on an air force base.
"I'm super excited to actually be part of the campus with other students and have my freedom; I'm ready for it," said Moloney, who stayed with her grandparents in North Huntington the last month and whose move-in day became an ad-hoc family reunion. "It was a lot faster than I thought it would be. It's very efficient."
New for this year, the WOW move-in days include a Parents Lounge in the Smith Student Center. A couple who drove their son to SRU from Oviedo, Florida, enjoyed a well-earned respite on cushioned chairs in the lobby after driving through the night, having departed at 3 p.m., Wednesday before arriving at 8 a.m., today.
"It was nice that we could move in right when we got here," said Steve Muise, whose son, Nick is a freshman exercise science/pre-physician assistant major. "Everything went smoothly and everyone was accommodating. We're very pleased."
Move-in continues Aug. 25 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information about WOW, visit: http://www.sru.edu/life-at-sru/student-activities/wow.
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