RU Rolls up Its Sleeves for Freshman Move-In Day

Greek life students helped new freshmen move into their new dorms.

Greek Life and other campus organizations helped new students carry their belongings during Move-in Day.

Toting duct-taped boxes, computers, mini-fridges, piles of books, overstuffed laundry bags and snacks galore, Radford University's Class of 2016 moved in Friday with help from campus volunteers, family members and friends.

Hunter Beale of Smithfield said he looked at several other colleges and universities, but Radford was his choice. He cited its comfortable, engaging environment and hometown feel. "It’s been exciting," said Beale, a freshman business major who will be one of the first students to attend classes in RU's brand-new College of Business and Economics (COBE) building.

"That building was a big attraction for me," he said.

Beale is also among the first students to live in the newly renovated Moffett Hall. Built in 1963, the residence hall building reopened this week after a year of renovations, some of which include two-person and three-person rooms, each with its own bath, expansive meeting and study spaces, lounges with bamboo flooring, kitchens, laundry rooms and state-of-the art filtration fountains on each floor for refilling water bottles.

Beale's mother, Sarah, confided that the day was bittersweet for her. "I've been dreading it for months," she said. "Even last year during high school graduation for his friends, I was crying for what their mothers must have been feeling—that pain of someone leaving your family and it never being quite the same again. It's so hard when you have to give them up."

Freshman Katherine Fitzgerald of Rocky Mount had already said her emotional goodbyes to friends and family. She arrived on campus a week ahead of move-in day to get a jumpstart on familiarity with her new home.

"I didn't know where I wanted to go at first, but I knew I wanted to stay close to home and somewhere I could also take my car with all my stuff," she said, noting more than two dozen pairs of shoes still sitting in her car. "I feel like, in a way, I've always planned on coming here. They have nice, small classes here, which I really liked. They don't treat you like a number."

Fitzgerald was reunited on 2012 Move-In Day with her friend Anna Lynch, an RU senior also from Rocky Mount. "The people here are really helpful," Lynch said. "The teachers and staff will help you with whatever you need, whenever you need any help."

Freshmen Brooklyn Giles and Kelsea Messenger are all smiles as they move into Jefferson Hall.

Freshmen Brooklyn Giles and Kelsea Messenger were all smiles as they moved into Jefferson Hall.

And help they did. Members of the RU community, including students from sports teams, Greek Life and other organizations, helped the faculty and staff roll out the welcome mat by rolling up their sleeves. Hundreds of volunteers helped with moving heavy boxes, steering lost visitors in the right direction, offering cold beverages and support.

One of this year's volunteers was Vice President of Student Affairs Mark Shanley, who spent hours arranging and loading countless students' belongings on a golf cart for transport to residence halls. "It makes my heart soar," Shanley said of the words of appreciation he received from parents and students through the day. "We're really proud of this Move-In Day," he said. "This is an extraordinary collaborative effort."

Aiming to "redefine the Radford experience," Shanley said, he and Provost Sam Minner, vice president of academic affairs, spearheaded the volunteer project, encouraging all staff and faculty members to lend a hand for part of the day. "Provost Minner and I decided that we wanted to make this the best Move-In Day ever," Shanley said. "We wanted to demonstrate the caring concern our faculty, staff and student leaders have for our new freshmen."

Making their 32nd trip—and counting—up and down the floors of Moffett Hall, carrying all they could handle, were three members of the Radford Rugby Football Club: Phillip Teetor, Hayden Angulo and Shams Abawi.

"We thought it was a great way to meet some new people, maybe some new recruits, and just help out," said Teetor, rugby club president. "We wanted to truly be a part of the university and not just be regular students."

The rugby players' goal fit right in with an objective of Move-In Day volunteer effort, Shanley said: to encourage active engagement for new students. Coming up are Service and Sustainability Week, International University Week, Fitness and Wellness Week, Creative Arts Week and more. "We have a whole array of wonderful programs that we've arranged over the next 10 days and actually six weeks that we've lined up to try to have the smoothest transition possible," he said.

To see more photos from move-in, visit our Facebook gallery or watch our move-in video.

Aug 24, 2012
Keith Hagarty
(540) 831-7749