Thursday, August 22, 2013

Move-In Madness:
UNO Welcomes Fall Freshmen

The University of New Orleans welcomes fall freshmen and scholarship students to campus today with "Move-In Madness," an annual welcome to the academic year that gets bigger and better every year.

New Student Move-in Day, an event sponsored by the Office of Enrollment Services, the Office of Student Housing and the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Pontchartrain Halls North and South. The special day allow new freshmen, new transfer students and scholarship students to move into the residence halls earlier than returning upperclassmen. The early move-in date allows the newcomers a chance to bond and get acclimated before the school year officially agains.

"It's just a really fun and exciting atmosphere," said Christy Heaton, associate director for Orientation and First Year Experience. "From an orientation perspective, we've spent all summer working with these students, so it's really exciting to see them again and they're really excited about school."

Fall freshmen spend the day "reconnecting," said Heaton, renewing bonds with new friends and Orientation Leaders met over the summer and introducing their families to campus.

An afternoon cook-out scheduled at 5:30 p.m. kicks off the University's famed Privateer Plunge, six weeks of welcome programming designed to introduce new students to campus. The Cook-Out takes place in the Pontchartrain Hall courtyard, with music and a photobooth, followed by a late night, family friendly Improv Show.  All volunteers and new students are invited to participate.

More than 250 freshmen, new transfers and scholarship students are expected to move into the residence halls today, said Mike Brauninger, director of student housing at UNO. Two hundred volunteers wearing bright blue and green "I Heart UNO" T-shirts bearing a traditional fleur-de-lis -- will greet them throughout the day, Heaton said.

Faculty, staff and students -- including student-athletes and coaches from the UNO Athletics Department -- will serve two-hour shifts throughout the day. At approximately 10:30 a.m., University President Peter J. Fos and Vice President of Enrollment Services Brett Kemker turned out to help, both wearing their UNO blue.

New Beginnings

Bright and early, scholarship students Sadie Duthu and Corinne Lorio of New Orleans stood in line for check-in at Pontchartrain Hall North. Rising sophomores, the pair described themselves as honors students and besties. With one year of college already beneath their belts, the pair is looking ahead to a fun fall.

"The people are really going to be a lot different," said Lorio, a film major who believes that sophomore year will provide continued growth. "We learned a lot about ourselves [freshman year]. There was a lot of self-revelation."

Duthu, who turns 19, agreed.

"I'm looking forward to everything," said fine arts major, who specializes in painting, "I just love the classes here. I love everything here!"

Though the pair are local – Duthu graduated from Covington High School and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and Lorio graduated from Ursuline High School – they believe that living in residence halls on campus is a special experience not to be missed.

"It's great living in the dorms," said Duthu. "You meet a lot of people. You build yourself living in the dorms."

Lorio agreed.

"You build yourself living in the dorms."

The pair did have some advice for freshmen: Always let school come first. Keep up with your classes. Hang out on the patio at South Hall – that's where the fun is. Go hard at the beginning. And: Don't schedule 8 a.m. classes.

"It doesn't work!" laughed Lorio.

Sabrena Inskip, 18, of New Orleans was looking forward to seeing her suite mates -- four new friends whom she met this summer at New Student Orientation. The recent graduate of John C. Ehret High School is "kind of excited," she said. She hopes one day to be a veterinarian and is taking prerequisites for Veterinary School in the UNO College of Sciences.

On the Move

All day, shifts of volunteers are assisting new students, helping them luggage, boxes, mini fridges and other items, as well as answering questions, as they move into the residence halls. Helping everyone to beat the heat are free snowballs, free Pinkberry yogurt samples and free Monster Energy drinks.

"I did two moves, I didn't break anything, so it's a success," laughed History Professor Michael Mizell-Nelson, who was one among many faculty joining the madness in an effort to lend a hand and get to know new students.

New this year to Move-In Mandess is a mobile Bed Bath and Beyond unit on the first floor of Pontchartrain Hall, where students can buy last-minute items. Also new are recycling services organized by the UNO Service Coalition.

Every year, the event gets "bigger and better" said Heaton.

"It's fun to get a campus-wide welcome for all students," said new student success counselor Nick Fuselier.  "I think it's really fun to see all of the student organizations coming out -- athletics teams, coaches and faculty."

Fuselier, who is a recent alumnus of the University, will be working with new students in the University's Privateer Enrollment Center.

Privateer Pride

"It's always nice for freshmen to see a shining face because it can be a bit chaotic, as you can see," said Margot Grozier, a desk assistant at Pontchartrain Hall North. "We definitely are near capacity, which is a big deal," she said. "We're trying to fill up campus housing so we have more of a university feel for UNO."

Grozier, a rising junior who throws the hammer for the UNO track team, has a special eye-out this year for student-athletes.

Student-athletes from the UNO track, volleyball and gold teams moved in to residence halls over the last few weeks so they could get started on their practice schedules. But that didn't stop newcomers from stopping in to see the action.

Markus Krieger of Stockholm, Sweden, checked into his residence hall two days ago.

"I got my ID and stuff and I'm pretty much ready to go," said Krieger, 18, a new member of the UNO golf team. "I going to get books today in the library and prepare for classes."

Krieger spent the past few days exploring the campus and visiting the French Quarter and downtown New Orleans. He has been to other U.S. cities, including San Francisco, but New Orleans has served as a nice surprise.

"It's pretty much different than the rest of the United States. That's how I've come to understand it," said Kriger. "I really like it here. I've just got to get used to the heat and humidity." 

"It's so big, the campus and everything, but it's all really nice," said Erik Dege, 19, another golfer from Stockholm, Sweden who joins the team this year. "I really look forward to this semester. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Already the two were pal-ing around with Zackery Secord of Ontario, Canada, a freshmen golfer who drove 23 hours to get to New Orleans. Later today the threesome will attend a special welcome meeting for international students.

"It's just great to see the new class coming in," said UNO Student Government President Brandan Bonds. "We're looking forward to helping them and we're looking forward to a great year."