The Meredith College Class of 2026 moved onto campus Saturday, August 20, 2022. And although the rainy weather initially impacted some aspects of Move-In plans such as the iconic balloon arch, nothing could dampen the welcoming spirit of the Meredith community.
New Student Orientation, which begins the same day as Move-In, helps students make an effective transition to Meredith. They learn about academic expectations, campus resources, and opportunities to get involved on campus. Students also get to know Meredith staff and other students, both their classmates as well as upper-level students who play an essential role in orientation – Student Advisors, members of OCrew, and Resident Assistants. Orientation also includes Meredith traditions such as the Honor Code ceremony.
“There’s just something about Move-In Day,” said Stevie Melvin, ’24, who is a member of the OCrew. “The freshmen are nervous but when you put a smile on your face you can see that it calms them down. Everyone is just so happy – it’s my favorite day.”
As always, Meredith’s alumnae were eager to welcome incoming students to their alma mater. Nearly 60 alumnae volunteered to provide support for Move-In Day activities. In addition, the Office of Alumnae Relations sponsored several social events for students, with an ice cream and karaoke social held earlier in the week for Bridge Program participants, international students, and student-athletes, and yard games, an inflatable slide, giveaways, and SweetWater Ice for students who arrived on Move-In Day.
Alumna Marva Watkins, ’86, said she’s participated every year.
“I would not miss it – it’s so much fun. I love meeting people from all over, and I also enjoy seeing other alumnae I might not get to see otherwise.”
Meghan Harward, ’10, said this year’s event was the first time she’d participated in Move-In since she helped as a Student Advisor.
“I’m excited to welcome another Even class,” she said. “My Big Sis moved in during a hurricane, so this weather isn’t too bad.”
The Parents and Families Council held two casual Meet and Greets for families of students who were moving in, which was a new addition this year. One was held earlier in the week and a second on Move-In Day. President Jo Allen, ’80, attended and offered brief remarks; families also received a gift and enjoyed refreshments as they mingled with current members of the Council.
Kim Whitley, ’85, parents engagement and reunion giving officer, said she decided to add the receptions as a way to engage families right off the bat.
“Our families seemed as though they really appreciated it – you could see them relaxing and smiling,” said Whitley. “The point is to make sure all of our families feel welcomed.”
The Office of International Programs welcomed students to Raleigh several days before Move-In to allow time for programming and socializing prior to the larger New Student Orientation for all students.
Sessions addressed topics such as navigating transportation and healthcare in Raleigh, strategies for academic success, and social identities. Incoming students also had lunch with current international students and participated in a scavenger hunt to get acquainted with downtown Raleigh.
“International students are the bravest students I know,” said Jennifer Glass, assistant director of international programs. “On top of the challenges that go along with starting college or grad school, they’re also navigating life in a new country, possibly making sense of things in a second or third language, all while being very far from the comfort and security of the familiar.”
According to the Offices of International Programs and Admissions, the incoming class is more geographically diverse than in recent years. First-year, transfer, and graduate students come from 20 states, including California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Montana, and 14 countries including Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kenya, and Spain.
“International Orientation is meant to address those extra layers of transition that are unique for international students so that they may go into orientation feeling more comfortable and confident and ready to tackle life as a Meredith Angel,” said Glass.