Thursday, August 14, 2014

Move-In Day Brings New Students to UNO Campus

Eighteen-year-old Amber Clement woke up today at 7:30 a.m. on New Orleans West Bank, showered, dressed and hopped into her car to head to the University of New Orleans campus. By 9 a.m., she was moving into her new residence hall. Her mother and two friends -- incoming freshmen Alexus Warden, 17, and Matthew Robinson, 18 -- showed up to help. The New Orleans natives are already enrolled and registered for classes. By lunchtime, Clement was moved in and all three munched on sandwiches in the University Center.

"I just wanted to get the college feel, instead of living at home," said Clement, a graduate of St. Mary's Dominican High School. "My Mom supported me living on campus."

New Student Move-in Day, an annual event sponsored by the Office of Enrollment Services, the Office of Student Housing and the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, allows new freshmen, new transfer students and scholarship students to move into the residence halls earlier than returning upperclassmen, said Christy Heaton, associate director for orientation and first-year experience at UNO. The early move-in date allows newcomers a chance to bond and get acclimated before the school year officially begins, she said. Fall freshmen spend the day renewing bonds with new friends and Orientation Leaders they met over the summer and introducing their families to campus.

Clement had not yet met her new roommate but was looking forward to life in the residence hall, where she will share a suite but enjoy her own bedroom, she said. She is also looking forward to becoming part of student life at UNO, which boasts more than 140 student organizations.

The University still needs a bowling club, said Warden, who was captain of the Dominican High School Bowling Team and will be assistant coach for that team this year. She might start one, she said. Dale O'Neill, director of student involvement and leadership at UNO, and a St. Mary's Dominican High School alumna, has said that anyone on campus can start a club with a charter and five members.

The Pontchartrain Hall residence halls are newly repainted, said UNO Director of Housing Mike Brauninger. They offer wireless Internet, cable television, roomy suites, community kitchen, security cameras, a convenience store and other amenities. Students living on campus also benefit from round-the-clock front desk service and security provided by campus police.

Helping them all year are specially trained Resident Assistants. RA's undergo special leadership training and are trained on supervisory and safety measures, he said.

This year, laundry services are included in students' rent. Students no longer need to fish for quarters; they can use the washers and dryers whenever they would like, Brauninger said. Next year, the University will roll out a web application that will allow students to view from a remote location which washers and dryers are available – and when their laundry is done.

This year's Move-In Madness brought a pop-up Bed, Bath and Beyond store to Pontchartrain Hall, said Brauninger. The store, which will stay through Saturday, offers "everything from ice cream scoops and curling irons to plastic storage containers, shampoo and other sundries."

An All-Hands Effort

More than 300 fall freshmen, new transfer students and scholarship students who will be living on campus arrived today at the University of New Orleans for "Move-In Madness," an annual welcome to the academic year, said Brauninger. By lunchtime, more than 250 had already settled into their new residences.

Several hundred students, faculty and staff clad in neon green T-shirts that said "I Heart UNO" and bore a traditional fleur-de-lis volunteered in two-hour shifts to meet and greet new students throughout the day, help them to move luggage, boxes, mini fridges and other items and answer questions.University President Peter J. Fos, Interim Provost Rich Hansen and a host of top administrators turned out to help.

"It's awesome," said Amy King, dean of student affairs at UNO. "Honestly, it was great to feel that energy again."

An afternoon cookout kicks off the University's famed Privateer Plunge, six weeks of welcome programming designed to introduce new students to campus, said Dale O'Neill, director of student involvement and leadership.

The Cook-Out in the Pontchartrain Hall courtyard is followed by a late night, family friendly Improv Show and all volunteers and new students are invited to participate.

A Spike in New Students

"Last year on this date, UNO had registered 1,688 new students and this year we have already seen more than 2,000, and there will be more. We're still admitting," said Vice President of Enrollment Services Brett Kemker. "I do think that the word is getting out that we take care of our students with our concierge approach to student management."

Kemker, who recently moved his office from the Administration Building to the University Center so he could be closer to students and the heart of campus life, attributed the nearly 20 percent spike in new students to reinvigorated student support services, targeted recruiting efforts, targeted efforts to recruit and retain transfer students and a thriving campus life. 

The new Privateer Enrollment Center, First Year Advising team, First Year Experience team and student success counselors are all new components that have helped to improve enrollment management at UNO, said Kemker. Students know that they are cared for and will have all their needs addressed. Moreover, the new staff and systems help to keep students on track.

The University's master plan, which operates on a five-year schedule, calls for expanding living opportunities on campus, Kemker said. Three new affinity housing structures devoted to Greek Life, a new road and a promenade are slated to be built on the back side of campus in a woodsy area south of Privateer Place, private apartments along Lake Pontchartrain.

"We're moving the theme of this campus from a commuter campus to a destination campus," said Kemker. "People who want to come and have the New Orleans experience can come and earn a degree while living on our campus and be enculturated into New Orleans and our lifestyle."


Read More

UNO Director of Student Involvement Wins National Award
Move-In Madness: UNO Welcomes Fall Freshmen
UNO Rolls Out Guidebook Web App Welcoming Students to the Privateer Plunge
UNO First Year Experience Amps Up Faculty and Staff Participation in the Privateer Plunge
University of New Orleans Brings Home Awards from SROW