Drury University’s Freshman Move-In Day Tradition: A First Step in Becoming Part of a New Community

Aug 15, 2014

For first-time college students, move-in day is a first step in a new adventure.  KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann went to Drury University Friday to learn more about how the school works to make this a smooth transition for students.

Move in day on the Drury University Campus
Credit Theresa Bettmann / KSMU

Pulling up to the residence halls on the Drury University campus drivers are greeted by several people dressed in blue t-shirts and smiles.  These helpers direct newcomers while unloading cars and moving items inside.  Mike Brothers is Drury’s director of media relations. 

“Today is move-in day.  So we have students and their parents coming up with all their things—one’s whole life packed into a car.  And we have a whole crew of upperclassmen, staff, and administrators all ready to help grab everything out of the car and take it inside.  All hands on deck,” says Brothers.

That includes Drury University President David Manuel, who is loading boxes onto a dolly. He says this move-in is the first step of a full weekend of activities to prepare roughly 400 new students for their new college life. 

“It’s not just getting your stuff out of a car and into a room and beginning to put it up with your new roommate.  It’s also immediately becoming part of the community in a different way,” says Manuel.

Parents have orientation activities throughout the day before a closing reception dinner Friday evening. Manuel reminds parents that they are not out of their students’ lives because they are away at college.  He reminds parents they are just taking on a new role along with the university as these young adults begin crafting the rest of their lives.

“I’m excited for her.  It’s a new step in her life,” says Lesa Collins.

That’s Lesa Collins of Strafford, speaking about her daughter, Hannah. Both say the move-in has been a smooth process, but the separation is bittersweet.  As the two work to find room for all of her things, Lesa says it would have helped to measure her daughter's  belongings ahead of time.

“Start packing earlier—not the week of,” says Hannah.

Hannah Collins will be studying early childhood education, and says she’s excited to get started. Her roommate is actually a longtime friend she has known since second grade.

Down the hallway, Madisyn Freeze is unpacking. The Walnut Grove resident will be taking part in Drury’s pre-dental program studying bio-chemistry, and is a member of the softball team.

“It’s kind of overwhelming I guess.  I’m really nervous.  I’m nervous for classes-- I’m not about the people,” says Madisyn.

Her mother, Melissa, says it’s been a bit emotional today.

“She’s an only child.  But I’m excited,” says Melissa Freeze.

Both sets of parents I talked with will be heading back home tonight after the day’s festivities and are glad they live close. Melissa Freeze had this advice for parents.

“Love them while they’re at home, and be excited for them when they move out,” says Freeze.

The rest of the weekend at Drury will offer students ice-breaker activities, dinners and other events with faculty. Freshman will jump right into their Core 101 class even before the semester begins next week, says the university’s Mike Brothers. Students are grouped with a teacher or adviser who will help them adjust to the campus life and community. He says on Monday students will take part in what is known as the service plunge.

“And that is truly a plunge.  Students dive right in.  They may be brand new to Springfield but they are going to learn some things that Springfield is about by going out and providing some non-profit volunteer work before ever going to a class,” says Brothers.

Classes at Drury University begin Tuesday.