Music, banners and lots of red welcomed the newest Huskers to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus this week.
Nearly 5,000 moved into their new homes during a four-day period, ringing in the 2023-24 academic year.
Ellie Weeks, freshman criminology major, arrived Monday morning to move into Abel Hall. She and the friend she will room with hadn’t planned how they were going to set up and decorate, but they had posters and pictures. Weeks said she was looking forward to the semester getting started.
“I’m excited about meeting new people and taking new classes,” she said.
Students and families arrived at the Bob Devaney Sports Center at their appointed time to check in and get their room key and a map for routes for move-in day traffic flow at the halls. Once they got back in their cars and pulled up to their residence hall, movers unloaded students’ belongings and took it up to their rooms so students could start settling in.
In addition to housing staff, more than 50 volunteers greeted students, helped with check-in or handed out T-shirts and tote bags. More than 5,500 students will live in residence halls total this fall.
The centralized check-in and moving services originated as a safety measure during the COVID-19 pandemic and stuck.
“Honestly we sort of liked it,” said Lucas Novotny, executive director of Housing and Dining Services. “We decided this type of experience was how we wanted to start our move-in process.”
Novotny said having students immediately walk up to a fun, welcoming environment can make it feel like home right away and validate their decision to come to Nebraska U.
“We want to reassure them that they made the right choice,” he said. “We are super excited to see them.”
Housing’s partnership with Athletics for use of the Devaney Center added to the pomp and circumstance of bringing new residents into the Husker fold.
“It’s all Huskered out in here,“ he said. “You can come in and see the cool experience of the Devaney Center — red everywhere. When they’re coming up here, met by music, smiling faces, and see school spirit, I think they’re excited.”
Aiden Thompson, freshman film major, echoed Weeks’ excitement about meeting new people now that he’s on campus. Thompson, who was moving into University Suites, said the day brought out lots of emotions.
“Excited and nervous are the main two,” he said.
Novotny hoped he and his staff could create a frictionless process that alleviated some of difficulties of the process, whether it’s the emotions of moving away from home for the first time or simply the physical strain of moving.
“Moving your student into the residence halls for the first time can be a stressful thing, for the parents, for students,” Novotny said. “We want students to get off on the right foot their first night. We don’t need them stressed; we don’t want them tired; we want them here to engage in their new home.”