The annual ritual of college-bound teenagers, Move-In Weekend at Eastern Mennonite University means all hands on deck. Faculty, staff and student staff welcomed a new group of first-years to campus on Saturday, Aug. 27, and returning students on Sunday, Aug. 28 — pitching in at registration and check-in tables, guiding parents into parking lots, and helping to move boxes, bags, and carriers of all shapes and sizes into the residence halls. President Susan Schultz Huxman and Herm, EMU’s mascot, made time in their busy schedules to meet and greet new members of the Royals family.
Approximately 194 first-year students were due to arrive over the weekend. They represent 17 states and 13 countries. Forty-five percent identify as BIPOC (Black Indigenous and people of color). Eighty-two are student-athletes. The class’s average GPA is 3.53.
The top major is nursing (46 students), followed by business and leadership (39), biology/chemistry/environmental science (30), and computer science/engineering (23). Education, visual and communication arts and psychology were also represented with numbers in the high ‘teens (some students indicated multiple majors).
New and returning students checked in over the weekend in the University Commons. Besides moving (probably too much) stuff into their rooms, new students queued for ID cards, attended several orientation sessions, and enjoyed dinner with their families.
First-year advisor Dontae’ Gholson, with colleagues Nina Zhang (left) and Chad Trevitte, meet students on Saturday. First-years also take part in a full schedule of meetings related to academics on Monday, when they meet again with advisors, professors and staff in their specific academic programs. A library orientation and any safety trainings (for STEM majors) are also part of the day. Classes begin on Tuesday, Aug. 30.
Twenty-nine student staff and seven professional staff logged approximately 65 hours of in-person prep time to get ready for the arrival of students, according to Director of Campus Life Scott Eyre. These include community assistants and residence directors, all focused on helping to build a welcoming, safe and supportive campus residential community.
There’s about 15 students for each community assistant, who live on each floor of the residence hall and are supported by the residence directors in their work.
Training included teamwork and relationship-building activities, but also “preparation for the hard stuff,” Eyre said. That includes learning more about mental health issues and how to respond; fire training with the Harrisonburg Fire Department; violence and sexual violence trainings with the Green Dot program; and exploring issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice as they relate to residential campus life.
“We mix this up with plenty of fun times together and great food,” Eyre said.
Speaking of fun times, EMU’s Turf Field was open for lawn games and general goofing off on Saturday night.
After Sunday’s worship service…
Everyone goes out to Thomas Plaza for the traditional class photo…and there’s always the serious one and the goofy one.
Post-lunch Sunday afternoon and evening activities help first-years acclimate to campus and get to know their hallmates. First-years help to paint a mural on the second floor of the University Commons. Designed by Rachel Holderman ’18, it features prominent landmarks of the Harrisonburg and EMU skyline, as well as elements of both Shenandoah Valley natural and indigenous history. (Photo by Rachel Holderman)
The classic “roomie” photo (although we hear from a reputable source that these two grew up together in Kansas). (Photo by Kate Szambecki, also of Kansas)
And the first pic with Herm!
EMU’s fall sports begin competitions this week. Athletes arrived Aug. 20 to begin practices and participate in pre-season preparations such as Media Day (go field hockey!). Read more about our first-year recruits looking to make their mark.