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August 25, 2011
By John Trent
Hauling suitcases and crates, an assortment of boxes and bundled reams of posters, with family members in tow, the nearly 2,300 students who began moving into the University of Nevada, Reno’s residence halls on Thursday found themselves blazing a new path.
Nicole Emmerich, a freshman from Ft. Collins, Colo., waited for her parents to join her in the parking lot of White Pine Hall. She had traveled a long way to get to Reno, and was looking forward to her time at the University. A campus tour a few months earlier had convinced the potential theater/marketing/journalism major that the University was the right place for her.
“I really wanted to leave Colorado because I wanted a new experience,” she said. “I didn’t really know that I wanted to come here until I toured here. But it was so different from what I imagined it would be.
“I really liked the University.”
Like many on Thursday, Emmerich said initial nerves had given way to excitement. She found a host of student services personnel, student groups, residence hall staff and others on hand to lend a helping a hand if needed.
“I was extremely nervous this morning,” she said. “But then I got here and it wasn’t as hectic as I thought it would was going to be. More than anything right now, I’m excited.”
For parent Mary Lopez, the move-in scene brought back a strong sense of having been through a similar process years before. The College of Education graduate, now a teacher at Riverbank High School in Modesto, Calif., was on hand to help daughter Alex move into Nye Hall.
“She decided she wanted to come to my alma mater,” Mary said. “I know, it’s kind of strange, isn’t it? She visited here and fell in love with the school.”
Alex, who said she hopes to become a teacher someday, said her mom’s good memories of being a student at the University, plus her own experience with the campus, led her to Reno on Thursday morning.
“My mom always said that she liked going to Reno,” Alex said with a smile. “She loved it here. I like the way it feels. It looks and feels like a real campus. It’s so pretty here. And they have a football team … I love football.”
Alex had already been to her room in Nye Hall a couple of different times. She liked what she saw.
“I really like my room because it’s bigger than all my friends’ dorms rooms,” she said. “All my friends at other schools have told me their rooms are too small. Well, mine isn’t small. It’s big.”
She was already anticipating an eventful first day of class on Monday.
“Well, after I get lost … I’ll probably cry a little bit then, find my way to class 20 minutes late,” Alex said, with a good-natured laugh. “I know it’s not going to be anything like high school. I know that for sure.”
Nearby, two volunteers said they could relate to the whole move-in experience, from the nervousness about arriving at a new school, meeting new people, living away from home for the first time, and wondering what it all would mean.
Lindsay Wentker, a sophomore majoring in social work, and Ellen Carstensen, a sophomore majoring in economics, were on hand as part of the “G” movement, serving as volunteers from the campus’ Greek community. In between helping families lug belongings up the stairs at Argenta Hall, the two sorority sisters took time to remember what their first day moving into the same residence hall the year before had been like.
“I remember being so nervous, and looking for a smiling face … looking for someone to reassure me and to help out,” Wentker said. “That’s what we’re trying to do today … we’re trying to help calm them down, because this can be a very stressful day.”
“Everyone’s been really grateful and really happy that we’re here,” added Carstensen. “We’re glad to help out.”
The two became friends after sharing the same floor in Argenta Hall last year – “We were neighbors three doors down,” Carstensen said, smiling. They both encouraged this year’s residence hall class to go to class, become involved with campus life and to make their time at the University count.
“I can’t believe that my first year is already over and I’m into my second year,” Wentker said. “Your time here goes by so fast. Starting today, everything goes by so fast.”