Freshmen descend upon UMass for 2013 move-in

By Elise Kei-Rahn

The University of Massachusetts’ newest entrants into the student body arrived on campus Friday, making history as both the University’s 150th class and also the highest-achieving entering class ever. Hundreds of cars lined both Stadium and North Residential Drives, with their inhabitants eagerly awaiting the opportunity to stretch their legs after confronting traffic on Route 9.

Maria Uminski/Daily Collegian

After reporting to either the east or south check-in areas, families advanced toward their respective dorms where Minute Movers’ sincere smiles greeted the flagship university’s newest residents.

Every student received the same allotted half hour move-in time, but their individual experiences differed as substantially as the colors and prints of their extra-long bedding

Chelsea Dahmer of Connecticut arrived promptly at Central Residential Area’s Gorman Hall at 8 a.m. after nearly two hours of driving. Her parents and older sister, Alicia, unloaded her belongings while she stated, to her surprise, that “everyone is so cheerful, which is strange because it’s extremely early.”

Her family expressed their gratitude towards move-in staff, as Alicia’s college, Baypath College, “provides no set time for move-in. You just gather your friends and unload your stuff.”

Further up the hill, many residents of Van Meter Residence Hall expressed mixed emotions regarding the location of their dorm. Perched atop their standard issue wooden bed frames, roommates Sally Mikhlin and Morgan Arsenault laughed about how they thought they “escaped [Orchard Hill]’s trek, but we ended up being parallel, if not further up, than their residents.”

But the two are happy that the dorm is known for being a “middle ground when compared to Southwest.”

“I wanted a dorm where I can socialize, but have my own quiet time,” Mikhilin said.

Although the stereotypes of the University’s residential system are merely rumors and folklore, they play a large role in most freshmen’s preference application.

Diamante Spencer, a kinesiology major, expressed her initial disappointment when she found out that she and her roommate will spend the upcoming year in Southwest Residential Area’s Kennedy Tower. Although the roommates received a coveted ‘z-room,’ both girls wanted to live in a low-rise, stating that they were fully aware of the party stigma attached to the towers.

“The most popular place is Southwest,” Spencer said. “It houses a lot of the athletes and it seems to always make the news. It’s notorious for riots.”

The move-in process took longer than Spencer had originally expected.

“I waited in the car line a solid two hours. Maybe even two and a half,” she said.

She added that parts of move-in “were more efficient than others. The hired movers were the most effective part of the move-in process. However, after we got our keys, we had to get into lines based on our dorms, which was a complete train wreck. Nobody knew what was going on and the signage was not clear.”

Freshmen weren’t the only individuals wishing for increased communication between school and student body. Junior Megan MacLennan, a Minute Mover stationed in Central had a few suggestions for next year’s process.

“Floor plans should be communicated to the movers during training to ease an already stressful process for many new students,” MacLennan said. “And perhaps movers could be stationed inside the building as well.”

Overall, she said, she enjoyed seeing student workers and families working together and “being able to transition freshmen into their new dorms.”

Any negativity regarding the move-in process was mostly forgotten until the moment came for parents and families to say goodbye to their children.

For Gayle and Michael Winters, saying goodbye occurred twice in one week. Their daughter, Brittany, arrived on campus a week early for Biology Intensive Orientation Session (BIOS), a program that introduces freshmen to biology research. She brought along enough clothing and supplies to last through the program until her parents drove the rest of her belongings to campus during the official move-in day.

“[My wife] cried the whole Mass Pike,” Michael said.

“And I probably will again,” Gayle said, cracking a smile.

Despite their sadness during their farewell, Brittany’s parents found comfort in the fact that their daughter already feels acclimated to the large campus.

Elise Kei-Rahn can be reached at [email protected].