The frenzied activity that is Move-In Day began at 8:30 Tuesday with dozens of orange-shirted Duke students descending with song and cheers upon the first cars arriving at Gilbert-Addoms Residence Hall. Within two minutes the first car was emptied, each item tagged with sticky notes designating a room and the students moved on to the next car.Read More
Before dad drove the car back to West Campus to park, he yelled, "Wait a minute," and pulled out his smart phone to get a photo of his daughter -- alone for the moment in front of her new home.
It was a scene repeated throughout the morning.
President Richard Brodhead, who greeted new students and parents during the first hour, later told a lunch audience that this was the day students begin to create their "own Duke memories."
Speaking for many, Sterly Wilder, associate vice president for alumni affairs, said it was "her favorite day of the year."
It's also a busy day. More than 1,720 first-year students arrived on campus and settled in with as little disruption to the campus and neighborhood as possible. Staff members from Student Affairs, Duke Police, Duke Stores, Undergraduate Admissions, Information Technology and other offices have the routine down and kept cars and students moving.
At Brown Residence Hall, one alumni parent who drove down from Maryland marveled at the effort’s efficiency and how quickly they made it through the line, noting that it went much faster than it did for him back in the 1980s.
But for those first-year students, there was nothing routine about it. This was all new and memorable. Everything was designed to help students in transition, but several members of the Class of 2018 admitted to being a little nervous, while also excited.
Once students dropped off their possessions and retrieved a room key, there were other stops ahead. Duke Stores had special stands to pick up pre-ordered refrigerators, T-shirts and Duke swag. East Union Building was turned into a one-stop shop where the Class of 2018 signed in with admissions officers, received their Duke card and brought their laptops and smart phones to get signed in for email and free anti-viral software.
Some of the more recent orientation "traditions" continued. Large areas were set off to collect cardboard and other recyclable material, improving the sustainability of the long day. Father Mike Martin and others from the Duke Catholic Center once again were at each of the residence halls handing out water and drinks to help both students and parents remain hydrated.
Throughout the morning, cheers from the FACs and music helped sustain the excitement of the day. A drum corps from the Duke marching band practiced on East Campus while speakers at each of the dorms provided songs. At Gilbert-Addoms, there was something for all ages: Taylor Swift for the students and "The Pina Colada Song" for the parents.
The day’s official activities ended with "A Taste of Duke" picnic by the Sower statue on East Campus. Convocation is set for 10:45 a.m. today (Wednesday).
Below: First-year advisory counselors get their energy up before aiding students and family members arriving to move into Blackwell residence hall. Photos by Megan Morr/Duke University Photography