Thursday’s new student move-in event marked the beginning of the four-day Welcome Days schedule at Northern Illinois University.
According to the university’s Housing and Dining offices, between 2,000 and 2,500 students made their way to their new residences, assisted by volunteers and staff.
“The move-in traffic has been steady all day,” said Michael Stang, executive director of NIU Housing and Dining. “It’s allowed our volunteers to get people where they need to be in an efficient manner.”
Stang estimates approximately 1,000 student volunteers, representing a multitude of student organizations, assisted students and parents by doing the “heavy lifting” between automobile and room.
During the morning peak, it took people less than 10 minutes on average to check in (receive their key and a briefing on key rules, learn how to use their entry card, get information on A Taste of Northern). This check-in efficiency, along with the many volunteers, helped more than 1,400 new students get moved in before noon.
By Sunday night, Stang said, about 5,000 students will be moved into NIU’s six residence hall complexes.
Move-in day was highlighted by students entering NIU’s new, $80 million residence hall complex for the first time. NIU President John Peters and first lady Barbara Peters greeted new residents and assisted in the move-in process.
“Move-in day is like the Fourth of July and all the other holidays rolled into one at NIU,” Peters said, noting the anticipation involved in opening the university’s first new residence hall in 44 years.
“About a thousand students will move into this residence hall complex by the time we’re through,” he said. “The reaction by students and their parents when they see this space has basically been that their jaws drop when they see the quality and the function that’s built in.”
Sophomore Shannon Lyles, a nursing student from Chicago who lived in Stevenson Hall last year, said she is excited to be living in the new hall.
“It looks very nice inside,” she said. “It has its own workout center and a nice cafeteria and gaming area … I’m looking forward to a great year.”
Welcome Week activities continue Thursday evening with A Taste of Northern event from 5 to 7 p.m., Northern Lights from 7 to 8 p.m., a block party from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. as well as an excursion to the local Target store from 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.