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Beginning of new year doesn’t have to be stressful

By Russell Axon
On August 15, 2012

As the University of Toledo slowly awakens for fall semester this week, blue bins filled with toiletries and yellow shirts covered by frogs will be a common sight.

New and returning students are moving into the campus residence halls today and tomorrow.

The students will be assisted by members of the Office of Residence Life and volunteers.

While a majority of residents arrive today and tomorrow, a few hundred students moved into Carter Hall and the lower floors of Parks Tower yesterday.

For those who have not experienced it, the busy atmosphere of a move-in day is similar to a Golden Age film studio.

“I think the genuine excitement is there for everybody,” said Matthew Perry, the hall director for Parks.

 

Making everything run smoothly

UT’s campus holds eight distinct residence buildings, including a freshman-only tower and a Greek village for fraternities and sororities. Combined, these building are home to at least 3,400 residents during the semester.

Directing and assisting that many moving bodies is a daunting task in any scenario, but Res. Life is up to the challenge.

Perry describes the move-in process as “organized chaos.”

“It’s kind of chaotic, but we do have a really nice structure to it,” he said.

Hall directors and resident advisors prepared for the move-in days several weeks ago by cleaning the hallways and rooms of every residence building, and making sure the living spaces were habitable and running efficiently.

Additionally, emails with move-in information and tips were sent to incoming residents.

On move-in day, residents use their Rocket Cards to check-in at registration table outside of the residence halls. Then, they receive their key, a sticker identifying their residence hall and a room condition checklist. Residents also receive informational packets which contain sports schedules and Res. Life info.

Residents then bring their belongings to their room and situate themselves, typically accompanied by parents and siblings.

Incoming residents are assisted by first-year resident orientation guides, or FROGs, who are easily identified by their yellow shirts.

Consisting of RAs and student and faculty volunteers, FROGs have many responsibilities during the move-in process, including directing traffic, managing elevators, and pushing bins filled with a student’s possessions.

“Our goal is that the families never push the blue bins,” Perry said.

According to Perry, the 100-200 FROGs are essential to making everything run smoothly.

“It’s really a big group, team effort to make it work,” he said.

 

Bumps in the road

The sheer logistics of the operation mean problems will inevitably occur.

“One of the biggest issues is keeping a steady flow,” said Jantzen Ridenour, the graduate assistant hall director for The Crossings residence hall.

“Occasionally we do have people who might stand at their car for awhile, and we have to get more people going so we can get everyone in and everyone happy,” he said.

Residents bringing things not allowed in the residence halls, such as oversized refrigerators and pets, is a common issue cited by Res. Life staff.

Some issues are specific to an individual resident hall — the elevators in Parks sporadically break down from excessive usage. Perry said the problem is rare, but a mechanic is always on standby for a quick fix.

Ridenour said any issues can be avoided through preparation on both sides.

“[Residents] should make sure they have their Rocket Card first and foremost,” he said. “They need to come in with a good attitude and know that every single person working in their building is there to help them.”

According to Perry, such issues are “few and far between” and handled quickly.

“We try to be very respectful because we think about it from [the resident’s] perspective,” he said.

 

A new home and community

This resident-focused approach seems to work for the Res. Life staff.

John Ezinski, a freshman pharmacy major and new resident at Carter, said he was impressed with the ease of the move-in process and the helpfulness of the Res. Life staff.

Instead of stressing about where to go and what to do, Ezinski said he was more worried about meeting his roommate for the first time.

Ridenour said he believes move-in day is important in determining whether a student has a good or a bad academic year.

“With our residence halls, we try to provide a sense of community,” he said. “We want to make [the residents] feel good that they’ve chosen to live on campus.”

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