DeKALB – Andrew Rodriguez, a transfer student from College of Lake County from Grayslake, said he hasn’t met his roommates yet, and he wasn’t entirely sure what to expect while moving into New Hall during Northern Illinois University’s Move-In Day on Friday.
Rodriguez, 22, said it’s his first time being away from home, and he more than likely forgot something he’ll need to retrieve from Grayslake. He said it might also be a hard goodbye when his parents leave, since he is their only child.
First thing’s first, though: Rodriguez needed to get his stuff moved in and get himself settled before he continues his career in nutrition and dietetics at NIU, he said.
“Everyone seems like they’re having a good time, though,” Rodriguez said. “So it should be good.”
More than 1,000 volunteers helped more than 2,600 students move into residence halls Friday on the main NIU campus by unloading cars and hauling student belongings up steps or wheeling them up sidewalks in a shopping cart.
One of those volunteers was NIU President Lisa Freeman, who is currently under consideration for the permanent position. Freeman said she has helped with move-in day for several years, even before she became acting president of the university, and she enjoys getting to know students during their literal first day on campus as she helps carry boxes up stairs and loads up shopping carts to roll onto a building elevator.
“These students are the reason that we are here,” Freeman said. “The university needs to serve their interests, and there’s no better way for anybody that works in a leadership position to get to know the students than to see them on the day that they move in.”
About 1,000 students had already moved in before Friday, NIU spokesman Joe King said. He said that includes honors students, athletes or residential advisors.
“It’s one of my favorite days of the year,” King said of Friday. “At that moment, everyone’s got straight As. Everyone’s undefeated.”
But this year was a little bit different with digitally streamlining move-in paperwork through a newly launched mobile app, King said.
NIU is one of the first housing programs in the country that is fully implementing an online mobile check-in app. King said the app was introduced last year, and 30 percent of students used it with minimal marketing on NIU’s part.
To help make move-in day as efficient as possible, he said, checking in through the app will become standard from this point forward.
“It eliminates one of the lines they have to stand in,” King said.
David Ulloa of Chicago was helping students check in as a residence hall advisor at New Hall. He said this is his fifth year as an undergraduate student after making a subject major change from nursing to corporate and organizational communications last year.
Ulloa said he was inspired to become a resident advisor to help people like him decide what they really want to do career-wise and. He said he hopes to prevent major changes so late in the game like his and he is looking forward to helping students get on the right foot this academic year.
“Today starts the best four years of your life,” Ulloa said.