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Unpacking the success of Move-In Day

August 30, 2017

If you could draw up the perfect NIU Move-In Day, chances are it would look a lot like the one last Friday.

Many students and parents provided positive feedback about the move-in experience via Facebook.

“It was smooth as butter,” said Tim Trottier, who chairs the Move-In Day Committee. “Everything about the day just flowed – at all locations. Traffic kept moving, cars were unloaded and students moved into their rooms quickly.”

More than 1,750 students moved into residence halls between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Nearly 1,300 others (athletes, Honors students and others) moved in earlier in the week, and the remainder arrived over the weekend. In total, about 3,600 students will be in campus housing this year, on par with last year.

The blue skies and moderate temperatures were a big factor in making the day run like clockwork, Trottier said, as nobody was trying to plan their arrival around a storm or trying to beat the heat. Even more important to the process were the 1,300 students and nearly 100 faculty and staff who were on hand to help.

“They made a huge impact on the arriving students and their families,” said Trottier. “They were amazed to see all those smiling faces and that sea of people in red t-shirts waiting to jump in and help.”

“When I moved into Augustana there was NO help, so this was a nice surprise,” said Britanee Eccles who was helping her sister move in to New Hall.

Contributing to the success of the day was a new cell phone app that allowed students to complete their check in paperwork once they got within 10 miles of campus. The app was created by Curt Grimes, an application developer in NIU Residential Technology. Nearly one in four students used the app and were able to grab the keys to their room within minutes of arriving. The new software was used on a trial basis this year and organizers hope to utilize it more heavily in the future.

Also key to the process were golf carts donated by Huskie Athletics, which kept things moving at Neptune North, and shopping carts donated by Lowe’s and Target, which were pressed into service across campus, but especially useful at Stevenson Towers.

“At the end of the day it was a total team effort – the police, our volunteers, local businesses and many, many others that made Move-In a success,” said Trottier.

Once settled, students eagerly participated in a weekend filled with Welcome Days events. The RHA Block Party, Meet the Greeks and the Glow in the Dark Dance Party all drew in excess of 1,000 participants. Also heavily attended were the Saturday of Service (held at the Communiversity Garden, where participants tended and harvested plants that help stock the Huskie Food Pantry) the Involvement Fair and the Band Run.

“It was a great start to a new school year,” said Jill Zambito, director of Student Involvement and Leadership Development.

Joining Trottier on the Move-In Day Committee were Jason John of the NIU Police Department, Chris Gilbert of transportation, Sue Bidstrup of Parking Services, Bethany Wall of Housing and Residential Communities, Gerry Keating of Materials Management and Laura Lundelius, director of Campus Services.

View more photos from Move-In Day and Welcome Days on Facebook.