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Campus Volunteers Pitch in to Help Freshmen Move into Residence Halls

Temperatures in the 90s didn't stop hundreds of volunteers from Old Dominion University's faculty, staff and student body from volunteering to help with freshman move-in day on Thursday, Aug. 26.

With 2,000 freshmen looking excitedly around their new residence halls, followed closely by parents looking anxiously at their child leaving home for the first time, an effort was made to make everyone feel welcome.

"It's an exciting time, but it's also a nervous time," said Carole Henry, executive director for housing and residence life at ODU. "We want to try to do what we can to make people feel welcome."

That included free ice cream at each of the residences where frosh were moving in. "We did it last year and people kept asking me, 'Are you doing the ice cream again?' I think it was a hit," Henry said.

Henry was all over the campus on Thursday, from freshman check-in at the Ted Constant Convocation Center - where the new students picked up their room keys and move-in information - to the residence halls, particularly Scotland House in the quad and Whitehurst Hall, the freshman dorm by the Elizabeth River.

She spent a lot of time thanking volunteers. "They're the people who really help make this day go smoothly," she said.

Kelly Journigan, a junior from Virginia Beach who is in her second year as a resident assistant, smiled as a new class of freshman "recruits" lugged their belongings into Scotland House.

"Today's been a little hectic, with a lot of parents looking to get the kids out and going. But it's been good. Everyone's really excited," she said.

Across the lobby, Shaunice Oliver, a freshman from Stafford who plans to study international relations, waited for an elevator with her mom, Sondra, their arms full of belongings for Shaunice's room. "It's exciting for her, but sad for mom. She's my first one out," Sondra said.

Henry said that's part of the challenge of move-in day - it's a time of jumbled emotions for the families themselves. "That's why we try to do what we can to make them feel like this is home," she said.

At Whitehurst, hall director Charles Crawford was overseeing the move-in of 618 freshmen.

"We've been looking forward to it. The staff has been working hard for the past few weeks. We were here late last night and then bright and early this morning," he said. Crawford said personalized decorations were hung on the door of every freshman, as part of the overall effort to welcome them to ODU.

"This is a big time for them. We want it to be memorable," he said.

This article was posted on: August 27, 2010

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