SEMO freshmen move in, with volunteers doing the heavy lifting

Friday, August 18, 2006
Southeast Missouri State University football players were among many groups that helped new students move in Thursday. (Diane L. Wilson)

For Sherry Lowry, moving her 19-year-old daughter into her dorm room Thursday was as easy as standing around.

No sooner had Lowry's husband set boxes down on a sidewalk than a group of five football players walked up to haul them away.

All Lowry could do was sputter her daughter Morgan's room number before the men grabbed the boxes and took them up five flights of stairs at Towers.

"This is wonderful," an awestruck Lowry said. "Every parent should learn that because it really works good: Just look helpless."

What was once an arduous task of heaving hefty boxes up flights of stairs to a student's residence hall room has now been replaced with brawny volunteers doing the lifting.

Athletes and fraternity and sorority members helped carry boxes and suitcases up flights of stairs to ensure the move-in to residence halls at Southeast Missouri State University went smoothly.

Lowry, of Red Bud, Ill., said her daughter would probably like having five football players walk into her room, but admitted with a laugh she hoped Thursday would be the last time it happens.

About 600 volunteers were on hand to help out the 1,000 freshman and transfer students moving into residence halls Thursday, said Bruce Skinner, associate director of the Office of Residence Life.

More than 1,000 new students moved into dorms at Southeast Missouri State University on Thursday. (Diane L. Wilson)

"Without the volunteers, we could not do a single-day move-in" for incoming students, Skinner said.

A few scattered volunteers have been helping with move-in day as far back as 1992, Skinner said. Around five years ago, Greeks were approached to get a bigger turnout, and then the athletes were contacted two years ago, he said.

"It's a lot of walking up and down stairs," Southeast football player Tunde Agboke said. Agboke, 20, said members of the team came at 10 a.m. to volunteer and draw interest for the fall season.

Outside, junior Melissa Jones, 20, stood in a breezeway waiting to help move her freshman roommate in. Even though she was there to help, she expected some of the work to be done by someone else.

"We're probably going to watch these Greek guys move the fridge," she said with a smile.

Pi Kappa Alpha senior Blake Brown, 21, said his fraternity was at Towers Circle at 8 a.m. and planned to stay until 4 p.m. The frat brothers have mostly helped move boxes up, but one freshman came to the residence hall with a plastic tree.

"I don't know why you'd want a tree," Brown said with a shrug.

A Dumpster by Towers Circle was piled high and overflowed with a variety of empty boxes, a couch and at least one futon mattress.

More than a dozen cars lined up waiting to pull beside the Towers buildings to unload their contents.

Around 11:30 a.m., a friend of a student moving in had a seizure, prompting one of the volunteers to call 911, according to Skinner. An ambulance and a firetruck were called to the scene. Skinner said the friend was later fine.

Aside from the brief emergency, Skinner said, the move-in went well. The Office of Residence Life secured about 3,100 bottles of water for volunteers and families, and most of those were handed out.

An early-bird move-in between 6 and 8 a.m. saw 202 students, an increase from 140 last year, Skinner said. Five minutes before 6 a.m., 30 families were lined up waiting for their room key, according to Skinner.

At next year's move-in day, Skinner expects to promote the early-bird move-in more and to continue using portable air-conditioner units, used for the first time this year to keep Towers buildings cooler.

Returning students were expected to move in today through Sunday. Around 2,300 students live in campus residence halls this fall, according to school officials.

Classes for the fall semester begin Monday.

335-6611, extension 127

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