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New students begin their W&M journey

  • Welcome to W&M:
    Welcome to W&M:  Orientation aides cheer as students, with the help of family members and volunteers, move into W&M residence halls Aug. 21.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Move-in day:
    Move-in day:  Stacks of students' belongings lined the streets around W&M Friday morning.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Move-in day:
    Move-in day:  Students and family members carry belongings into a residence hall on Friday morning.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Move-in day:
    Move-in day:  Some of the larger items moved into residence halls included mini-fridges.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Move-in day:
    Move-in day:  Orientation aides, clad in neon shirts, made sure each student received an enthusiastic welcome to campus.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Move-in day:
    Move-in day:  Volunteers, wearing shirts that said "Sweating For You," helped students and family members carry items.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Move-in day:
    Move-in day:  A student poses for a photo with W&M President Taylor Reveley.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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The William & Mary campus was awash with green and gold and blue and lime this morning as the university prepared to welcome freshmen, transfer and other incoming students on new student move-in day.

Under a clear sky with negligible humidity, orientation aides in distinctive lime-green practiced their cheers while blue-shirted teams of upperclassmen movers prepared to haul countless refrigerators, lamps, fans and furnishings into residence halls across the campus. Joining them were support staff and university personnel clad in every combination of green and gold imaginable.


Although the new students were queuing up to move in well before the 8 a.m. start time, the move-in teams took their positions even earlier. Drawn from nearly every student organization at the university, the blue shirts were excited to provide big Tribe welcomes, to ease the move-in process for anxious families and, yes, to sweat for the new arrivals.

“We are helping to take the stress out of move-in for the new parents and students — we’re going to unload cars and just give a warm William & Mary welcome,” said Kelley Doyle ’18, who organized one of the move-in teams helping at Monroe Hall.

“I remember the first day of my freshman year. It was crazy, and simply having an extra helping hand is nice,” she recalled. “Just knowing that people are there to welcome you and to be excited for you means so much.”

As the clock struck eight, the move-in commenced. The move-in teams made short work of even the most over-stuffed cars. Incoming students entered their new homes for the first time to check in and receive their keys.

“I actually just went into my room, and it’s a lot nicer than I expected,” said John Mitchell, a new resident of Lion M in the Green & Gold Village. “I toured here last year as a high school senior, and I thought it was beautiful and I fell in love with it. Now that I’m here, I love it.”

“I’m really excited about meeting people with the same passions that I have,” Mitchell added. “I’ll be studying physics, so it’ll be nice to meet other people with similar interests.”

Upstairs in his room, the whole Mitchell family — mom Karen, dad Brian and little brother Ben — were busy unpacking. Of course, sending the oldest child to college for the first time is a poignant time for Karen Mitchell.

“It’s a little bittersweet — I’m really excited for John, but I’m also a little sad that he’ll be leaving us,” she said. “I’m excited for him to make great friends, to study what he really wants to study and just to have fun.”

Elsewhere in the Green & Gold Village, Nana Amoh was moving in with the help of her parents, Alexander and Esther Oduro.

“I’m excited to be here because William & Mary has great teaching opportunities, and it’s a small school with an excellent science program. I already know this because I’ve been here over the summer,” said Amoh, a veteran of the W&M PLUS-S (Preparing for Life as an Undergraduate Science Student) program and soon-to-be pre-med track student.

As the morning drew closer to noon, the constant stream of cars trickled off and the students began turning their attention from moving in to settling in. Parents said their good-bye-for-nows and, for many new students, the curtains closed on one act of life as they began to open for another.

“William & Mary is the perfect school for me. It’s so pretty here, and everyone I’ve talked to has been so friendly,” said Emma Lather, a Charlottesville native. “I’m just excited to be part of a community full of smart, really friendly people.

“The first person I talked to said, ‘Welcome home,’ which made it really feel real for the first time, and that’s really exciting,” she added. “And they gave me a popsicle when I got my key. So I think I’m going to like it here.”