Red carts and cheering students line the streets as a parade of cars weaves through campus. The sun is shining, and move-in crew volunteer Bub Tatum has one word to describe the atmosphere: “flaming.”
“The friendly vibe that’s going around –– everybody pitching in and no bad attitudes –– you gotta love that,” Tatum, a longtime Buckeye fan who said he jumped at the opportunity to give back, said.
On Ohio State’s annual move-in day Saturday, about 7,000 students made campus their home with about 3,000 students, staff and volunteers helping to run the process, Aubrie Smith, communication and logistics manager for the Office of Student Life as well as move-in day coordinator, said.
Smith said that move-in day brings a special feeling to Ohio State.
“I think it’s a really great day because I think the energy on campus is kind of infectious, and I just love it because everyone is so excited to be here,” Smith said.
Students going through the move-in process arrived at the Covelli Center Saturday morning to receive their keys, car hang tags and maps instead of the Schottenstein Center as they have in the past, because the Covelli Center has parking lots with pedestrian access to the building, according to Smith. In years prior, shuttles had to be provided between parking lots and the Schottenstein Center, she said.
Move-in day planning begins nearly a year in advance, and the top priorities are traffic patterns, communication and volunteers, Smith said.
Andrew Koempel, a first-year in biology from Galena, Ohio, hadn’t seen his room in Smith Steeb or met his roommate yet, but said the day had moved smoothly so far.
“I’m excited,” he said. “It’ll be cool.” Koempel said he is most excited for the freedom that college will bring.
Sophomores, who are required to live on campus, also returned. Jonathon Thou, a second-year in biology, moved in on Friday after a 28-hour flight from China.
“A lot of people welcome us here,” he said. “I feel like I’m coming home.”
This has been a record-breaking year for the OWLs — the Ohio State Welcome Leader program that helps students move into their dorms — with almost 1,800 OWLs all over campus, Maria Murphy, a fourth-year in early childhood education and co-chair of the OWL program, said.
The OWL program is an early arrival program in which student volunteers move in early to be trained for move-in procedures and interaction with both students and families, but Murphy said that as a transfer student who struggled to make friends, the program means so much more.
“Our students get so much more out of it than just volunteering on that big move-in day,” Murphy said. “I have met some of my best friends in the OWL program.”
Kaylie Glenn, a first-year in psychology, served as an OWL outside of Morrison Tower, where she will spend her freshman year.
“There’s enough people to handle it,” she said. “It’s super organized, it’s hype, it’s fun.”
Murphy said that the OWLs have a greater purpose than moving boxes into dorms.
“That’s kind of what we try to train our OWLs, it’s just to help all of the students who move in solidify and validate that they chose the right university,” Murphy said.
Glenn said she felt exactly that and has met a group of friends through the program.
“I feel cemented,” Glenn said. “I already have a foundation and it’s really nice.”