The University of Wyoming oversaw what was likely its busiest freshman Move-In Day in UW’s history Monday, when the bulk of an expected 1,750 first-time students signed into their residence halls.
Freshmen and their parents navigated a hectic scene on the one-way stretch of Ivinson Avenue between the fraternity houses and the residence halls, wheeling mini-fridges and other dorm decor into the halls and up the elevators, heading for their first home-away-from-home experience.
UW President Laurie Nichols attended the move-in event, welcoming new students as they unloaded boxes and decorated their rooms.
“It gives me a good sense of our student body and where they’re coming from,” she said. “Of course, the other thing is just the ability to say hello and to welcome them, make them feel like we really are a student-focused campus (and) that we care a lot about students.”
Nichols said many freshmen come from outside Wyoming, and said she likes to hear what unique challenges these students face, coming from so far away.
Ben Kisley, who moved into McIntyre Hall, is one of those out-of-state students, coming to UW from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“I came here to study mathematics and secondary education,” Kisley said. “And the reason I came to Wyoming was they had a really good education program where you can major in both education and the field, so it’s like you have a backup plan if one or the other doesn’t go right.”
As Kisley moved into the residence hall with help from his mom, he said he would check out the club and organization fair Wednesday, with a mind to getting involved on campus.
“I’m just going to see what’s out there,” he said.
The club and organization fair is just one of many events hosted throughout the first week of school, collectively known as Cowboy Connect and geared toward introducing students to UW, Laramie and Wyoming.
Cowboy Connect’s one-week freshman schedule also includes “mini-adventures” with the Outdoor Program, a movie showing in War Memorial Stadium and a welcome-back picnic and barbeque on Prexy’s Pasture on Wednesday, the first day of classes.
“Certainly, the social piece is important because we know a lot of students want to connect with people and get engaged with activities in their residence halls,” said Jo Chytka, director of the Advising, Career and Exploratory Studies (or ACES) Center. “So, we try to build all of that in.”
All new students, whether they met or missed her during Move-In Day, had a chance to hear Nichols during a welcome address later Monday afternoon.
“I’ll talk to them just a little bit about being new on campus and my experience of being a new president and some of my memories of being new when I was a student,” Nichols said before the address. “I’ll talk to them about student success and some of the things to keep in mind so they can be successful.”
This address, geared toward helping students succeed in college, is the event first-time students definitely do not want to miss, Chytka said.
“I think one of the most important parts is our message from our president and our Provost (Kate Miller) that sets expectations for the incoming class,
welcomes them, helps them to start to understand some of the university tradition and things like that.”
By noon Monday, roughly 70-80 percent of students coming to live in the halls were already settled in, said Eric Webb, UW executive director of residence life and dining services — though about half of these students came early, moving in either Saturday or Sunday.
“We’ll still have some that trickle in tomorrow, mostly returners at that point,” Webb said.