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Parents, football players and Jim Ryan welcome Class of 2027 during move-in

Residential advisors and student volunteers helped during one of the busiest days on Grounds

HRL facilitated move-in along with 240 residential advisor staff — upperclassmen students who live within dorm communities
HRL facilitated move-in along with 240 residential advisor staff — upperclassmen students who live within dorm communities

Dorms bustled with students pushing carts, parents carrying twin XL bedding sets and even football players volunteering to lift heavy mini fridges as the Class of 2027 entered Grounds this fall. Close to 4,000 first-year students found new homes across 27 buildings during a hectic yet exhilarating process.

Ahead of the busy few days, Housing and Residential Life facilitated move-in with months of organizing alongside 240 residential advisor staff — upperclassmen students who live within dorm communities and serve as mentors to students living on Grounds.

The first-year students arrived on Grounds a week after Lawn residents, who moved in last Friday. Incoming transfer students and returning second-year students who will be living on Grounds moved in Saturday, while returning third and fourth-year students began moving in Sunday. 

Throughout the day, students may have spotted some familiar faces among first-year dorms — University President Jim Ryan, football coach Tony Elliott, Director of Athletics Carla Williams and the football team all volunteered as moving helpers, sporting blue Ikea bags and towering stacks of cardboard boxes.

First-year College student Henry Addison said move-in was a quick, smooth process because of all of the move-in help.

“It was like one trip into the dorm,” Addison said. “And then my family helped me unpack everything.”

All first-year students were randomly assigned either a Thursday or Friday move-in date in various time slots throughout the day. If the provided move-in dates conflicted with student’s schedules, HRL offered early and late move-in by request. First-year College students Clara Falkenheim and Erin Feldman, for example, moved in the Tuesday before regular move in to attend a Jewish retreat program during the week.

“We had an early move-in, and it was a lot less hectic than it would have been today,” Falkenheim said. “But [move-in] was really fun. The RA was nice … it feels a little like summer camp.”

For students who didn’t have their heavy lifting done by football players, volunteer student greeters and Residential Advisors were also posted around dorms to help with move-in. Third-year Engineering student Shrinidi Nadgouda worked as a volunteer greeter Thursday and tended to her Residential Advisor duties Friday.

“The greeters are definitely so beneficial to the parents, moving and things,” Nadgouda said. “We’re sort of just there to be like, ‘Hi, I’m your RA for the year.’ The greeters are really helping everybody moving their stuff in.”

Greeters who volunteered to welcome families and transport belongings received 50 flex dollars and a t-shirt. 

Nadgouda and third-year College student Joe Washington were working a booth to advertise a pilot program that they will streamline as RAs. The program is through Metcalf-Lefevre, Tuttle-Dunnington and Dillard dorms and is designed to bring academically-focused initiatives, such as a book club featuring books written by University professors, into the dorms.

To create a welcoming environment, Grace Allen, RA and second-year College student, propped her door open for her residents and gave out popsicles on move-in day.  Allen chose to decorate with boats made in the University’s classic orange and blue colors.

“I wanted to be able to help make the move-in process and going away from home for the first time — I wanted to help make that smoother,” Allen said. “My ultimate goal, why I decided to be an RA, [is because] I wanted to facilitate community.”

Following move-in, first-year and transfer students have the opportunity to attend Wahoo Welcome events put on by University Programs Council including an annual concert with bands Social House and Between Friends, Virginia Recreation and a pep rally for the football team at Scott Stadium. 

Some students said they planned to attend the welcome events, while others anticipated utilizing the University gyms — especially the Aquatic and Fitness Center — in the upcoming days. During the first week of classes, Virginia Recreation offers free group fitness classes for all students.

First-years attended mandatory meetings that weekend, such as the “Hoos Got Your Back” presentation — a bystander intervention program — and the opening convocation ceremony and Honor induction Sunday on the Lawn. Ryan welcomed students at convocation while student speakers gave advice to incoming first-years and introduced important traditions including the legacy of the Honor code. 

First-years will get their first taste of college classes Tuesday, when the academic year begins.