Extended move-in marks exciting milestone for Highlanders

New student Skyler Robinson (right) and her mom, Chessa, help move her in to Draper Hall.

Radford University students’ gradual return to campus this summer was an uplifting and encouraging sight to see.

Many students hadn’t set foot on campus since the spring semester, when classes were shifted to an all-online format. Move-in marked an even more exciting milestone for members of the Class of 2024.

All students had a few extra days to settle in and explore campus because move-in was expanded to 11 days this year due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and the need to align with public health guidelines. Highlanders and their families smiled from behind their masks as they hauled suitcases, mini refrigerators and pillows into the residence halls.

On Aug. 1, the first official day of move-in, Skylar Robinson and her mom, Chessa, took a break from the heat outside of her new home away from home, Draper Hall.

Loaded with groceries and paper towels – a hot commodity during the pandemic – the two women were excited for Skylar’s new adventure.

A transfer student from Woodstock, Virginia, Robinson said she was slowly adjusting to the mask and social distancing requirements.

“It’s going to be a little different,” she said about the fall semester. “But, move-in has been really easy so far, and that’s a good sign. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Radford University has in store for me.”

Alex Blanchard
Alex Blanchard


Freshman Alex Blanchard was also among the nearly 1,300 students to move on campus before the start of classes.

Blanchard said his parents encouraged him to attend Radford. It did not take much arm-twisting, though. Alex has been hearing about Radford from his parents – both of whom are alumni – since he was young, and he has always known it was the place for him.

“I like the small community feel here,” Alex said, shortly after moving to campus from his home in Salem, Virginia. “It’s a nice community; everybody knows each other.”

Alex is beginning his freshman year as a Highlander along with many of his friends from high school. “We’re all here, and we’re all kind of tight,” he said.

Like them, he was eager to begin his college experience at Radford, where he plans to study business and pursue classes that will help him build his knowledge in architectural design and construction.

Destini Smith
Destini Smith

Destini Smith is pursuing pre-nursing at Radford because she wants to help others, something she has been doing for years.

“My grandma has been sick my whole life, and I’ve always helped her,” the freshman from Ashburn, Virginia, said. “So, I want to get into nursing and learn more about helping people.”

That thought process led her to the internet where she Googled the top nursing programs in Virginia. “Radford University was among the top schools, so it was an easy decision,” she said. 

Freshman Rachel Garrison, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, was drawn to the University by another of its outstanding colleges, The Davis College of Business and Economics. Garrison is entering as a pre-business major. She was one of hundreds of new students who participated in Family Groups, a new program that offered freshmen the opportunity to get acquainted with campus and one another before the start of classes.

Garrison said she toured Radford University last summer, but Family Groups served as a “nice refresher,” she said.

“We’ve visited every single building, and I’m reminded of how beautiful this campus really is,” she said. “I’m living in Floyd Hall, and I love it there. So far, it’s been a great experience.”

The day before classes began on Aug. 12, students received a warm welcome from President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., and other members of the Radford Family during the University’s first-ever virtual New Student Convocation.

During his remarks, President Hemphill reminded students that although the 2020 academic year is going to be different because of COVID-19, “the Radford University family’s committed to students’ success and well-being.”

Sep 2, 2020
Mary Hardbarger
(540) 831-5150