UMass Dartmouth welcomes freshmen on move-in day

Sep 2, 2019

Dartmouth’s newest residents were welcomed to their new home at UMass Dartmouth during the university’s new student move-in day on September 1. 

It was quick, orderly chaos in front of the freshman dormitories, as over the course of ten hours, students unloaded minifridges, televisions, computers, game consoles, and living essentials into bins. 

More than 600 student volunteers whisked belongings into the dorms, as students checked in to their new homes. 

“We have [move-in] down to a science here,” said university public affairs specialist Ryan Merrill during a lull in move-in traffic early Sunday morning. “When cars pull up they put everything in the bins as fast as possible and up to the rooms. We try to make it as easy as possible.” 

There are only so many elevators, however, so some students on upper floors found themselves waiting in a line, albeit one that moved fast. 

As Scott Robinson waited in that line outside of Maple Ridge Hall with his family and volunteers who had helped move his belongings out of his car, he wasn’t quite sure what he would do after unpacking — but he was excited at the possibilities. 

“I can’t wait for the freedom, just living and being more independent,” the astrophysics student said. 

His mother, Rachel Cobbett, was by his side, ready to say goodbye. 

“It’s hard but I’m proud to be here,” she said. “He’s worked so very hard to get where he is today.” 

For students moving in the morning, some had the opportunity to meet Chancellor Robert Johnson, who was out on campus shaking hands and welcoming staff and new students to campus. 

“Over the summer the campus gets quiet, dull, and boring,” Johnson said. “As students come back to campus it gets exciting and energetic.” 

One thing many students will be doing between now and the start of classes on Wednesday is getting acquainted with their new home. Students will dive into an orientation program featuring educational and fun events, games, and activities to help them ease into college life.

Convocation will be held on September 3 to formally welcome the Class of 2023 to the university. 

The next three weeks will be packed with "Weeks of Welcome" programming, which includes everything from a hypnotist to an opportunity for new students to learn where things are on campus. 

“There’s something for everybody,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Shannon Finning. “Its to pull students out of their rooms and get them feeling like they’re home.”  

With students moving in from all over the state, out of state, and out of the country, one thing on officials’ minds is the threat of Eastern equine encephalitis. WIth Dartmouth classified at “moderate” risk, Finning said university officials are closely monitoring the situation and are ready to react if the alert level changes. 

So far, only one major event has been postponed — a block party which was scheduled to run until 1 a.m. — but otherwise officials are being proactive and educating students about making smart decisions during outdoor events. 

There are still two days of move-in left: Transfer and new graduate students move in on September 2, and all returning upperclass students return on September 3.