Towson University students moved back to campus in advance of next week's start of classes
If the 300 Towson University student volunteers and utility carts to haul belongings didn't create the atmosphere for the start of the fall semester, then the weather sure did.
Students and their families were treated to a beautiful day Thursday, starting with temperatures in the low 60s, as more than 5,000 students began settling in to their campus housing.
TU President Kim Schatzel made appearances at all of the residences on campus and was impressed by the energy and spirit created by the students' return, as well as the volunteerism of those who pitched in to help.
“You can see how much commitment there is to make this a special day for students and their families,” President Schatzel said. “It’s wonderful to be a part of it.”
She stood in the middle of the hum of rolling carts and the buzz of student conversation at The West Village Commons, handing out ice cream as the morning began to warm up under the August sun.
Part of the more than 5,600 students living on campus this fall will be approximately 2,700 freshmen — part of the largest, most diverse and most academically prepared incoming class in TU's history.
“This class that we put together has been fantastic. We had approximately 13,000 applications for those 3,000 spots,” Schatzel said. “This class is tangible evidence that we provide the highest quality educational experience and a terrific, engaged community.”
Among the freshmen moving in was Haley Elbaum, who was settling into her dorm in Tower D Thursday morning. Her roommate was slated to join later in the day.
Among the essentials for Elbaum were her laptop and clothes. But her family was planning a run to the store shortly after unloading the car they drove from their Montgomery County home.
“I forgot pillows,” Elbaum said.
Her mom, dad and sister — a University of Maryland student — were along to help.
“I felt like she was just born, and we were running to preschool and birthday parties and PTA meetings. It went by in a flash,” said Suzanne Elbaum, Haley's mom.
Suzanne — lamenting the new “empty nester” status in their household — said she's been telling colleagues to appreciate their time with their kids.
“The days are long, but the years are short. It flies by,” she said.
Ellis Wright, a freshman from Howard County double majoring in film and marketing, was on hand with his parents, Lisa and Kenneth, as well as his grandmother and little sister, Chloe.
Lisa earned her masters at TU and worked on campus.
Ellis found the move-in process to his new home in the Towers to be a breeze.
“Everyone, the whole staff here, helped us out, we got inside in about an half hour,” he said.
Theron Abell, a senior social sciences major from Anne Arundel County, is a residence assistant in Tower D.
“It's a fresh start for all these students. It's a way for them to let their nerves out,” he said of move-in day. “There are so many opportunities for everyone to fit in. It's my job as an RA to make sure everyone has those opportunities available to them.”
Two roommates in the Towers have known each other since growing up in Prince George’s County. Dalton Dunn, a business administration major, and Prince Ukpai, majoring in information technology, described themselves as "blood brothers" and were thrilled to have their roommate situation arranged before arriving.
For Dalton, moving in is the realization of a dream that was years in the making.
“It's always been my No. 1 school,” he said. “I came here in middle school on a field trip, and always wanted to go here.”
While many underclassmen were getting settled at The Glen Towers, it was move-in time for students transferring in to TU at the newest residence hall — The Residences at 10 West Burke Avenue.
Emily Widmaier, a Long Island, New York, native transferring to TU to major in nursing after spending a year at the University of Tampa, was one of the students moving into the transfer-specific housing at the former Marriott property.
Emily and her family were blown away by the size of her single-occupancy suite, which featured a queen-size bed, a couch that folded out into a bed, and a separate room just inside the door.
Asked what she’ll put in the front room: “Probably nothing.”
Emily said she was “lucky” to get a room in the building, and said she's excited about the athletics teams Towson University offers and that the campus community is larger than her prior school.
“Everyone is a lot more friendly here,” Emily said.
“This was her first choice," Lisa Widmaier said.
“The school is just beautiful. The check-in was simple, wonderful, helpful,” Lisa Widmaier said.
And about that space in the new residence building?
“There’s no words to describe a room like this for a college student,” Lisa said. “I like it so much because its going to make her feel so independent. She’s going to grow up a lot. It just makes me feel good to know she’s in such a nice, comfortable place.”
This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University: Diverse and Inclusive Campus, Culture of Philanthropy and TIGER Way.