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W&M community warmly welcomes new students to campus

  • Student volunteers move new students' belongings
    Welcome home:  Student volunteers move belongings into the dorms for new students at Friday's move-in day at William & Mary.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • President Katherine Rowe and orientation aides form a hand canopy as a new student passes underneath
    Presidential salute:  William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe (far right) and orientation aides form a hand canopy to welcome a new student to the Tribe.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • A new student enters her dorm as orientation aides on each side of the door applaud
    Come on in:  A new student is welcomed by orientation aides as she enters her dorm at Friday's move-in day at William & Mary.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • A new student carries belongings to his dorm
    Ready for class:  A new student carries the makings of his dorm room toward his new digs during William & Mary's move-in day Friday.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • An orientation aide reaches out a hand as others behind her cheer
    Give them a hand:  An orientation aide reaches out for a handshake as others behind her cheer during William & Mary's move-in day Friday.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • A new student carries belongings to her dorm
    Joining the Tribe:  A new student is part of the crowd of students toting belongings to their dorms at William & Mary's move-in day Friday.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • A new student carries belongings to his dorm
    Smiles all around:  A new student carries his belongings to his dorm as orientation aides greet him during Friday's move-in day at William & Mary.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Piles of student dorm ware on the lawn
    Got stuff?  Piles of essential, and not so essential, dormitory-bound stuff dotted William & Mary's campus during Friday's move-in day.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Chanting faster each time, William & Mary orientation aides reeled off three rounds of: “Lions and eagles and griffins, oh my” as two parents with armloads of dorm ware walked through their welcome line at the Green & Gold Village Friday morning.

They were part of a move-in day procession at Lion, Griffin and Eagle halls Friday morning that included movers, check-in officials and campus police directing traffic. The W&M community embraced the members of the Class of 2023 as they and transfer students moved into dorms and reported for orientation in preparation for classes starting Aug. 28.

Lilly McClendon ’23, had arrived from just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to move into her new home.

“I’m really excited,” said McClendon, who plans to study neuroscience. “I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of new people from a lot of different areas and getting to experience a new stage in life.”

She said she was struck by “just how enthusiastic all the students are for being out early in the morning, sweating a lot. And they all seem really excited to help all the new students move in.”

{{youtube:medium:right|pouD7J4q48Q, Move-in day}}

Rob Introne was waiting for his family to arrive in another vehicle to move in his daughter, Ally Introne ’23, after they had traveled separately from Centreville, Virginia.

“I’m doing pretty good,” Rob Introne said, as sidewalks around him filled with belongings. “This is our second child, so we’ve been through this before. But I suspect she’s a little anxious about the big transition.

“I love it; I love the enthusiasm; I love that you have these upperclassmen out here trying to make the freshmen feel welcome. It’s just great. It’s just fantastic the way they make everybody feel so welcome.”

Ally Introne ’23 arrived and started the vehicle unloading process, still getting used to the idea of leaving home.

“It hasn’t totally sunk in yet; I’m really excited, though,” she said. “I think I want to study math in hopes of becoming a high school math teacher.”

Looking forward to the entire university experience, she said her most unusual item packed was all of her horseback riding equipment because she hopes to participate on the equestrian club team.

University officials welcomed 1,541 freshmen into nine residence halls, and checked in for orientation 181 transfer students, 12 exchange students and 12 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 236 student leaders, 10 of whom served as area directors.

Sydney McCourt ’20 was working as an orientation aide at the village. She said she came in as a freshman from New York very intimidated by not knowing anybody, and orientation was important for her.

“Orientation really made me feel comfortable on campus and like I kind of knew what was going on. My closest group of friends on campus I met during orientation and in my freshman hall, who I still consider some of the people I’m closest to.

“It’s just an introduction that sets the tone for the four years — what the culture is, what to expect, how they should be treating each other. I feel like the sense of community is really built during orientation.”

Matt Nwaneri ’23, from Silver Spring Maryland, said he could sense the excitement and sense of community as he moved into Griffin Hall.

“I can tell everyone’s really thrilled for other people that are moving in, and they just want to support them,” Nwaneri said. “Already, I can tell that that’s a part of the culture here.”

He was part of the wave of students whose vehicles helpers quickly unloaded in front of Griffin.

 “I’m excited and nervous at the same time — just so many new people to meet,” Nwaneri said. “My high school was relatively small, so it’s going to be a big adjustment for me coming to a school with so many people. I’m looking forward to the freedom and also just meeting so many different types of people, so many new types of people I’ve never been exposed to before.”

Alex Montano ’23 from Northern Virginia felt the same.

“It’s a completely different set of people than back home,” he said.

Alex Montano was making trips back and forth to his room with armloads while his mother, Alina Montano, waited with what remained. She was thrilled with the efficiency of the move-in setup, but Alex leaving home — not so much.

“That is a different story,” Alina Montano said. “He’s my only child; so it’s very difficult.”

Her immediate concern was whether all of the stuff Alex and his roommate, a fellow swimmer from high school, had brought for their room could fit into it.

“I think we have more things than anybody else, it feels like,” she said.

Rishab Negi ’20 was volunteering with Kappa Alpha and was part of a group descending to unload vehicles. He had moved mostly pillows and suitcases and was having a great time getting quite the workout, he said.

“Especially as a senior, I could have decided to not come back for this,” said Negi, who is majoring in applied mathematics and economics. “But I signed up because the energy that the freshmen bring is contagious. And now I’m here five days early, and I’m energized to have a great last year.”