Housing staff gives new residents move-in help

Ethan Metcalf

Victoria Estrada, freshman in mathematics, waits with her sisters and mom before moving into her dorm at Killingsworth. Photo By Yasmin Persaud
Victoria Estrada, freshman in mathematics, waits with her sisters and mom before moving into her dorm at Killingsworth. Photo By Yasmin Persaud

Resident Assistant Tiffany Uke waits from under the shade of a tent to show new dorm residents to their rooms. It’s hot outside—about 99 degrees hot.

But Uke, sophomore in biology and pre med, knows she is about to get a break from the heat as she introduces herself to a new resident on her floor, Dierrica Smith, mass communication freshman, and her mother, Ruth.

“Did you go to Spirit Days?” Uke asks as they approach the front door of Killingsworth Hall.

Despite the frenzy of students and family members lugging around belongings and dorm decorations, the lobby is cool and inviting compared to the heat outside.

Nursing freshman Jenie Zhao was one such student carrying her things up to her room but not without the help of her two siblings.

“The hardest part was climbing five flights of stairs because the elevator line was too long,” Zhao said.

According to her brother Jason Zhao, his farewell to his younger sister would be sweet, but mostly short.

“We’re heading home after this. We’ve been waiting 18 years for this,” he said.

Uke said she was worried about working on move-in day because it’s her first year as an RA.

“It’s super crazy, especially being new. I get asked tons of questions but I’ve lived here for a year so I know the answer usually,” Uke said.

She presses the button to the elevator as she tells Smith how to get her ID card. Uke said it took her 10 minutes to get through her speech to new students at early move-in Tuesday. Now it only takes her three.

Ashley Roberts, freshman in biology, packs her things with the help of her brother, Robinsion Roberts. Photo By Yasmin Persaud
Ashley Roberts, freshman in biology, packs her things with the help of her brother, Robinsion Roberts. Photo By Yasmin Persaud

“I told you the elevator was slow,” Smith said to her mother as they waited for a lift.

As they finally walk off the elevator and onto the third floor Uke remarks how it took her two weeks to decorate her hall with its tropical theme. Her room is easily recognized by the fake grass on the door and the hula hoop propped up against the wall.

Chris Harrell, father of nursing freshman Alyssa Harrell, was one such helpful parent moving possessions from car to dormitory. He said he is still unsure how to feel about his daughter moving out.

“This will be the second one [to go to college] but the first to move out,” Harrell said.

After answering some final questions, Uke leaves Smith and her mother in the room so they can start unpacking. Uke said she now has just nine more residents to go.

With 1,320 beds on campus, these interactions between RAs and residents and their families happen countless times each year, but according to the RAs, the goal is always the same: make students feel welcome.

“It’s just good customer service. We want people to feel welcome here,” said Jordan Carter, pre-med sophomore and Pierce Hall RA.

But Carter and other RAs said on-campus residents have more to look forward to than simply feeling welcome.

“It’s easier for them to join MSU society,” said Jim Mao, engineering sophomore and Pierce Hall RA. “You don’t need to ride a bus for 15 or 20 minutes to get to school. You just walk out of your door. And you can get 20 minutes of extra sleep, or more.”

Moving in off-campus

Some students weren’t able to live in the dorms, with even Sunwatcher Village, Sundance Court and Mustang Village apartments fully booked by April 1 according to Director of Housing Michael Mills.

“Basically we had a larger group of returners and a larger group of freshmen coming in. So that’s why we made the decision to rent 216 beds at Mustang Village and offer those to our returning students,” Mills said. “In May our deposit numbers were up pretty considerably so we also rented some apartments at French Quarter to serve as an emergency overflow.”

Mills said between seven and 10 students are living at the French Quarter apartments as of Wednesday.

“Of course that number changes on a daily basis. That won’t finalize until middle of next week. But we’ve got enough over there to handle any that come in, but they’re just on very short-term leases,” Mills said, adding that the apartments were chosen for their proximity to the university. “It’s right across the street basically.”

While off-campus residents may not have the same easy access as those on campus, Mills said the housing department still lends them support as university officials struggle to keep up with the growing number of resident students.

“We understand the university’s in a growing position and we don’t feel it’s right to turn new freshmen away that need a place to stay. It’s better for them if we can help them out, even if it’s a temporary solution, until something opens up on campus,” Mills said. “They’re still getting the benefits of campus housing, RAs, hall directors, and then they get moved into campus housing.”