NIU rolled out the red and black carpet to welcome more than 3,500 Huskies to campus on Aug. 23. Nearly 1,000 volunteers assisted students and their families during move-in day while Mother Nature lent a hand by providing ideal weather conditions.
“Opening Day in the residence halls is one of my favorite days of the year,” said Mike Stang, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. “Campus is pretty quiet in the summer and we always look forward to the arrival of new and returning students to DeKalb and our residence halls.”
Cars continued to stream in throughout the day, packed with belongings and Huskie pride. Local businesses Lowe’s, Walmart, Target and Schnucks donated hundreds of shopping carts which lightened the load for new and returning residents. The process was also streamlined thanks in large part to NIU’s online check-in process.
“Over 85 percent of students checking in this fall did so by using their own device,” said Curt Grimes, assistant director, Web and Digital Communications. “When students arrived on campus they showed us their receipt and picked up their key right away.”
Once checked in, students had the opportunity to explore a number of campus improvements designed to enhance Huskies’ living and learning environment.
In Neptune East residence hall, improvements include the addition of air conditioning units, refreshed flooring and new furniture in each room. Restrooms were refreshed with new vanity areas, walls, mirrors and more private shower changing areas.
Beginning this fall, Neptune East is now home to the LGBTQA Living-Learning Community, the Fine Arts House and the new Esports Community. A dedicated Esports arena is now housed in Neptune North which is open to all Neptune residents and members of NIU Esports Club.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to provide the growing NIU Esports community with its own space to host events in the middle of the NIU campus,” Grimes said.
On the technology side, the Division of Information Technology added more than 370 new Wi-Fi access points across the residence halls which is an 88 percent increase of the wireless coverage in residence halls.
Stevenson Dining has been remodeled and is now a retail dining center offering Erbert and Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop along with a grill, pizzeria and salad toss station. In addition, the new Dog Pound C-Store has grab and go items so students have more options when it comes to using their dining dollars.
“Students will have an array of menu items to choose from including subs, burgers (both meat and meatless), wings, chicken tenders, fries, personal pizzas and flat bread pizzas, pastas, salad and much more,” Cindy Robinson of Residential Dining Service, said. “Because it is no longer a traditional ‘all you care to eat’ dining facility, it provides convenience by allowing students to either eat in or carry out.”