Van Crowder unloads his van while helping his daughter Si (not pictured) during move-in day at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville Wednesday. Over a three day period 500 students will move into their residence halls assisted by hundreds of volunteers. Volunteers Sam Buchanan and Austen Krill stand by to offer a hand.(Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)
Move-in Day at GGC
Students from Georgia Gwinnett College move into their residence hall as they prepare for another school year in Lawrenceville.
LAWRENCEVILLE — They came loaded with leopard-print comforters, hot pink pillow cases and boxes of potato chips that spilled out past laundry detergent and off moving carts.
Parents and grandparents took pictures and carried storage tubs while students begrudgingly posed for pictures near green and silver balloons and green carpet.
There was a swarm of activity around the 1,000 parking lot on the campus of Georgia Gwinnett College on Wednesday as more than 200 students began a three-day move-in process before classes begin on Monday. Nearly 500 will move in by Friday. For many students, moving in marked the end of a lazy or boring summer, depending on their perspective, and culminated a weeks or months-long preparation for the start of a new school year.
“A true sense of excitement to be on the GGC campus,” said GGC associate provost Jim Fatzinger, who was among more than 200 faculty, staff and volunteers to help students and parents. “This is a culmination of lots of paperwork, lots of time and effort, detailed finances, and it all comes to a head on their first day on the GGC campus as new Grizzlies.”
Freshman Kennedy Dickerson was one of those new Grizzlies, and she arrived on campus with her mother, Kathy Little, and grandfather Philip Beslow from Fayette County.
“Granddaddies do everything else,” Beslow said, “we may as well do this. I came along just to provide some muscle, more encouragement than anything else.”
Dickerson said packing the car for the move was stressful, and she was sad to see summer end. One relief was Dickerson’s roommate was someone she met in elementary school, so that removed one unknown about her new surroundings.
As Dickerson and some volunteers moved her belongings into a room, one of them picked up a particularly heavy suitcase.
“Oh, wow, what’s in here?,” the volunteer said.
“Clothes,” Little said. “Would you believe it?”
Little called the buildup to move-in day interesting. They’ve done a “whole lot of packing, and a whole lot of buying,” she said.
“I feel good,” Little said. But I’m going to miss my child,”
Beslow added there has been a range of emotions leading up to Wednesday.
“It’s been building,” he said. “The closer we got to this day, there were mixed emotions. She was elated on one side of the coin, and not passive, but sad on the other side.”
Little said Dickerson is looking forward to independence and, “learning life without Mommy.”
“Like I told her last night, ‘We taught you a lot of things,’” she said, “Now you’ve got to show us what you learned, because I can’t do anymore, I’ve done all my work.’”
While the freshmen who moved in on Wednesday have several days before classes start, Gabrielle Doran of DeKalb County said she looked forward to finding where her classes are, and using the Wellness Center.
“I had sleep anxiety,” Doran said. “I didn’t sleep for the past week because I was so excited.”
Several parents were amazed at the residence halls at GGC, lamented that their move-in process years or decades ago was a stark contrast to the seemingly endless supply of volunteers willing to push a cart or carry a bag.
“They dropped me off and left me,” said Audrey Minter, who helped her daughter, Jordan, move in. “The dorms were nothing like this. Cold, damp, we didn’t have helpers helping us move in.”
Jordan Minter lived with her parents last year in Lilburn while she attended GGC. But this year she’s living on campus, and looked forward to meeting her roommates for the first time on Wednesday. When she starts classes, Jordan Minter said psychology is what she looks forward to next week.
“I think it will be an interesting class,” she said. “A lot of people say it’s interesting and fun, so I’m pretty excited to take it.”
One of several welcome events is Thursday night’s “March through the Arch” ceremony where new students enter the campus community symbolically by walking through the Arch of Knowledge, which is attached to the library.
“Every first is a special first because every class brings new ideas and an increased level of excitement and new passions,” Fatzinger said. “There will be new student organizations that start this year from the incoming class. There will be new opportunities for involvement and residence life continues to build with new members moving into the residence life area.”