Slippery Rock University welcome ‘WOWS’ students, parents
More than 1,500 first-year Slippery Rock University students are moving in today and Friday during SRU's Weekend of Welcome program. Classes begin Aug. 29.
Aug. 25, 2016
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - When Kelly Roth drove across Pennsylvania to drop her daughter Kayli off at Slippery Rock University's Building A, it could have been a tearful parting. But the University's Weekend of Welcome move-in program helped the family end one phase of life and begin another.
"As a parent who is doing this for the third time, it is a blessing to see that Slippery Rock University cares so much about students," said Roth, whose daughter is majoring in biology.
SRU's team of WOW volunteers began moving in 1,500 new and returning students today, easing the goodbye that can be a rocky rite of passage for families. The special tradition that kicks off every academic year will continue through Aug. 28. Classes begin Aug. 29.
The WOW brigade carried thousands of pounds of clothing, TVs, computers and food to students' rooms and fielded questions about room swipe cards, orientation activities and the location of other campus buildings.
"It was really so easy to get in," said Emily Darmstadt, an exercise science major from Phillipsburg, New Jersey. "I didn't have to carry my stuff. I got my ID. I like campus. I'm so excited."
Several parents said they are energized for their children and fell in love with campus at first glance. Parents said WOW volunteers swarmed their cars and were eager to help, which alleviated stress.
Students personalized their rooms with Pittsburgh Steelers' apparel, hand-sewn blankets and photo collages of friends from home.
"As soon as we rolled in, everyone lined up and directed me where to go and helped me get in my room," said Sean Glover, and athletic training major from Pittsburgh who said he enrolled at SRU because of the academics and affordability.
"Hi Mom," joked his roommate Cameron McIntosh, an athletic training major from Pittsburgh. The roommates were friends in high school. SRU assigned them to Building A because it houses the health living learning community. SRU partners students with similar interests in the same residence hall.
"It was kind of busy when we got here, but everything has been fluid," McIntosh said.
Returning to Building A is Collin Darby, an exercise science major from Pittsburgh. He arrived with a bicycle and, to the chagrin of those on his hall, a small, tabletop stereo system called a stereo tower.
Darby said WOW kept him and his parents "from straining our backs."
Most of the WOW volunteers, clad is neon-green T-shirts, are upper-class students who benefited from WOW as freshmen.
Tre Talton, a social work and psychology major from Vandergrift, said he volunteered at Rhoads Hall because he wanted to help students adjust, and he wanted to meet new students in the hall where he lives.
"It is important to help the incoming students feel like they are at home. This is the first time they'll be on their own, and to help ease the process we want to give them a warm and comfortable welcome," he said.
Talton said most freshmen and their parents feel nervous because it is a big transition from high school to college. "What we do is try to relieve some of that fear so they can worry less and feel comfortable with their surroundings here at Slippery Rock University," he said.
WOW volunteer Gaby Koch, an elementary education major, wheeled cartloads of clothes into Watson Hall.
"We help students and parents feel more comfortable," she said. "Slippery Rock is not just a campus; it is a huge community and family."
Koch said WOW helped ease the drama of saying goodbye to her parents. "I am my mom and dad's only kid. So it was really emotional. But I got to see that coming to Slippery Rock gives you a sense of having a new family."
Students arriving at North Hall also received the WOW treatment. When Raelle Sadowski, a biology major from Erie who plans to become a physician, pulled her car in front of the residence hall, five WOW volunteers walked over, with one of them asking, "What room are you in?"
Sadowski scurried into the building lobby to check in.
"It's a lot easier for them to help us," she said, adding that she arrived with three carloads of items from home. "I brought a lot of stuffed animals. Turtles are my favorite animals, so I brought three of them."
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