William & Mary

W&M family moves new students in with style

  • Helping hands:
    Helping hands:  Student volunteers helped freshmen and transfer students move into the dorms at William & Mary Friday, swooping in to lend families a hand.  Photos by Stephen Salpukas
  • Got stuff:
    Got stuff:  Freshmen and transfer students moved into on-campus housing at William & Mary Friday, bringing with them everything and more needed for the academic year.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • A place for everything:
    A place for everything:  Once everything was in the room at Friday's move-in day for William & Mary freshmen and new students, it was often a case of where was it all going to go.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • My space:
    My space:  Decorating rooms with personal details was the first order of business for arriving freshmen and new students at William & Mary Friday.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Maximum refrigeration:
    Maximum refrigeration:  Numerous mini-fridges were hauled to and fro as freshmen and new students at William & Mary's Friday settled into the dorms.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Parental support:
    Parental support:  In between driving their students to campus and saying goodbye, parents provided tons of help moving belongings and setting up rooms at Friday's move-in for William & Mary freshmen and transfer students.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Enthusiasm to spare:
    Enthusiasm to spare:  Orientation aides provided non-stop cheers, smiles and greetings for new students and their families at Friday's William & Mary move-in day.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Miles of piles:
    Miles of piles:  By late morning, the array of stuff that had passed through the drop-off points was inside the dorms and being put away at William & Mary move-in day Friday for freshmen and new students.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Beautiful weather, tons of helpers and a new president helped make move-in day on William & Mary’s campus memorable for newcomers Friday morning.

The William & Mary community welcomed the Class of 2022 as they and transfer students moved into dorms and reported for orientation in preparation for classes starting Aug. 29.

President Katherine Rowe greets orientation aides. (Photo by Stephen Salpukas)President Katherine Rowe, who recently moved into the President’s House, made the rounds during her first move-in day on campus. Rowe ran through a gauntlet of high-fives on her way into Jefferson Hall at her first stop, where she chatted with workers at the check-in desk.

“I need to check in, guys,” Rowe said.

A real Jefferson Hall resident, Celine Zalamea ’22 was ready to decorate as her belonging filled her room.

“I’m absolutely loving it already,” she said. “Honestly coming in through the parking lot with all of the people screaming our names and singing and dancing, it was just absolutely awesome — such a great welcome.

“From today I just hope that I remember that feeling of coming in not knowing anyone, and still feeling accepted and still feeling part of a tribe.”

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Outside Jefferson, Zalamea’s parents and brother were helping her move in after making the drive from New Jersey.

 “She is happy and that makes me happy, so it’s definitely bittersweet,” her mother, Cecille Zalamea, said. “But I’m really, really happy for her. … It feels like family, so I’m OK.”

Amy Dewald ’97 was dropping off her son Ethan for his freshman year. The family, which lives in Pennsylvania, was not among the many seeking directions because of their familiarity with the campus.

“I am very excited,” Ethan said. “Mom went here, and we used to come here every summer. Williamsburg would be one day and I always saw it, so it was my first choice.

“I’ve been looking forward to moving in. There’s all this anticipation about getting here, and now you’re finally actually getting here. So I’m excited to just meet everybody, because for once I’m not the only new student. Because we’re a military family, so I’ve been the new student a ton of times.”

The family visited both sets of grandparents in Virginia and toured around Colonial Williamsburg in the days before Ethan’s move-in.

“It made me even more excited, because I love this area and I love the school,” Amy said. “So it made me even more excited to leave him than when we actually left Pennsylvania. He’s going to love it here; this is a great campus.”

Student volunteers unloaded vehicles and helped carry belongings into dorms while music pumped and orientation aides chanted and cheered. There were individual cheers for everything from the ubiquitous mini-fridge to cases of water, mirrors and dads bringing coffee.

Ashley Robinson ’21, a volunteer with the InterVarsity club, was among the movers.Hallways filled up as vehicles were emptied and rooms filled. (Photo by Stephen Salpukas)

“We’re trying to outreach the people and help people while they’re moving in, show them that we’re here to support them during their first days,” Robinson said. “I remember when I moved in, I just went to get my key, and all my stuff was already in the room. And that took a huge load of stress off of me.”

University officials welcomed 1,557 freshmen into nine residence halls, and checked in for orientation 187 transfer students, 24 exchange students and 23 University of St Andrews Joint Degree Programme host students, according to Lauren Garrett, director of first year experience. Helping with the intricacies of moving and orienting was an orientation staff consisting of 233 student leaders, 10 of whom served as area directors.

At Taliaferro Hall, freshman Delandra Burford from Brookneal, Virginia, was moving in with help from her parents, grandmother and a very little sister carrying quite a few items up three flights of stairs. Burford said she was excited, but more nervous.

“People were very kind, welcoming — I think that will be the biggest thing I remember,” Burford said. “A lot of people were helpful.”

Her mother, Dianna Burford, said she was feeling a little anxious, and that the memory of this day would definitely stay with her.

“It sure will because this is my first-born and she’s going, so it’ll stick out,” Dianna said as a few tears started to roll.

Decorations showed the uniqueness of each dorm room occupant. (Photo by Stephen Salpukas)Down one floor, freshman Kimberly Ferguson from Manassas, Virginia, was moving into her room with a roommate she already knew from high school. Parents Greg and Sue Ferguson were amazed at how quickly the move-in occurred, while Kimberly said it had gone easier than expected.

“I feel pretty good right now, before it’s all catching up,” Kimberly said, adding that she would most likely remember how helpful everyone was with the move-in, and the teamwork that was involved.

And move-in day went green as well as gold, with a nod to protecting the environment.

New this year were Eco-Reps doing a pilot project as part of W&M Sustainability’s new Eco-Representatives program, launching this fall with student volunteers acting as sustainability ambassadors. Twenty-five Eco-Reps encouraged recycling by helping families locate recycling bins and breaking down boxes to maximize bin space.

Evan Dotas ’19, in his first year helping out, was among the orientation aides dancing along Jamestown Road in front of Taliaferro Hall as the morning wound down.

“It’s so much fun; I’m having a great time,” Dotas said. “Going into senior year, I was thinking about how I want to leave an impact on this campus and what I want my legacy to be.

“And I thought I wanted to really meet these new freshmen, help guide them along this same path that I’ve been on, and help them figure out who they are and what they want the Tribe to be for them.”

Though not usually an early riser or an extrovert, Dotas said he literally rose to the occasion.

 “Something about being with the staff, wearing the neon shirt, and just being around all of these people really brings it out of me, and just makes it all worth doing and makes you really look back on those years and think wow, this really is my home,” he said.