Move-In Day for incoming students started bright and early, with the first cars pulling into Meredith’s Hillsborough Street gate and under the College’s famous balloon arch just before 8 a.m. But for the campus community, Move-In Day preparation begins much earlier, and the support offered new students continues well beyond.
“Move-in is special for so many reasons,” said President Jo Allen. “From the blaring welcomes at the balloon archway entrance, to folks eager to help unload boxes, to the tent with forgot-to-pack items, the message is clear: we are glad to have you join us in this extraordinary experience that is Meredith College.”
While many Meredith faculty and staff are part of the preparation for the new academic year, much of Move-In Day and Orientation energy comes from students who serve as Orientation Crew members, student advisers, or residence life staff.
About that balloon arch
Orientation Crew, affectionately known as OCrew, coordinates many of the logistical components of the day. They also play a vital role in bringing the magic of Move-In Day, including constructing the balloon arch on the Main Drive, welcoming new students to campus using pots and pans on the Main Drive, posting directional signage across campus, streaming music in the Courtyard surrounding the residence halls, and providing ushering support during Orientation sessions.
Assistant Director of Student Leadership & Service Catie McAnulty said OCrew is an essential part of what makes Meredith Move-In day unique.
“OCrew works to ensure the experience of the new student and family are positive the first day they are on campus. New students experience the intentional, personal welcome that reflects the warm, supportive campus community at Meredith.”
Helping New Students Feel at Home
Meredith students who serve as Resident Assistants (RAs) spent the week before Move-In training and preparing their halls for the new residents.
For many RAs, including Sarah Karboski, ’21, Move-In is their favorite day of the year.
“The Residence Life staff trains and works hard to make sure everything is in order and to ensure that we are prepared for the year,” said Resident Karboski. “As an RA, my role on Move-In Day is welcoming new students and helping with the first steps of their move-in process.”
Support continues throughout the year
Meredith’s student advisers are also among the first people new students meet and get to know on campus. Each student adviser is paired with a faculty adviser and assigned to a group of eight to ten students. These upper-class student advisers help incoming students make a smooth transition to Meredith, guiding them to various events throughout Orientation such as the honor code ceremony and the president’s dinner at Massey House.
“The student advisers offer a warm welcome, give new students important information, and help them get to know others on campus,” said Chrissie Bumgardner, co-director of First Year Experience. “They’re also energetic and friendly - they radiate everything that’s good about Meredith.”
The advising groups continue to meet regularly throughout their first year, co-facilitating discussions with the Summer Reading Program and integrating StrongPoints®-related activities. Student advisers remain a primary point of contact, identifying students having difficulties and recommending candidates for leadership positions.
Abby Crooks, ’20, is now chief student adviser. She enjoys helping new students transition to Meredith.
“My favorite part about being an SA on Move-In day is watching the freshmen get to have their first real glimpse of life at Meredith,” Crooks said. "When I was a freshman, my Student Adviser was an integral part of helping me get involved on campus. Having the opportunity to show freshmen how great Meredith is and the plethora of opportunities available is a wonderful privilege to have.”
Alumnae Return to Support New Meredith Angels
Alumnae volunteers were distributing gifts from the Alumnae Association and water in the residence halls as well as staffing water tents and serving sno cones.
President Allen notes that alumnae are eager to be part of Move-In Day as well, which illustrates the strong connections between Meredith students and alumnae.
“The sense of tradition and connections with generations of other students is in full view as over 100 alumnae stand ready to help welcome students to campus and to reassure parents,” President Allen said. “I love the opportunity to meet new students and their families and friends, every bit as much as I love seeing our alumnae return to renew their own friendships and to help new Meredith students feel at home.”
Director of Alumnae Relations Hillary Allen, ’01, says Move-In Day brings back great memories for alumnae.
“Many alumnae can recall moving onto campus and whether or not you lived on campus, you were welcomed by eager upperclassman, a helpful adviser or student adviser, and a Big Sis who loved you at first sight,” Allen said. “For many of us, Move-In Day at Meredith conjures up many treasured memories because it was the beginning of creating our new home in Wonderland. There are probably many alumnae who would trade places with a member of the Class of 2023 in a heartbeat.”
About the Incoming Class
Meredith College welcomed approximately 450 new undergraduate students for the 2019-20 academic year. New students come from 16 states and four countries, including China, Kenya, The Netherlands, and Trinidad.
When the new academic year begins on August 21, Meredith expects to enroll approximately 550 new undergraduate and graduate students. The College’s total student population is expected to be approximately 1,800 students.