First-year and transfer George Washington University students were welcomed to campus Saturday with helping hands, warm smiles, a presidential lemonade stand and GW sweatshirts.
By Briahnna Brown
Sydney Walker, a transfer student from Upper Marlboro, Md., was still in the process of moving into Somers Hall on the Mount Vernon campus when her family decided to take a break and visit the GW Family Welcome Suite in the Marvin Center’s Great Hall on Saturday afternoon.
Being an only child, Ms. Walker said that she was a bit nervous about sharing a space for the first time, but that she is excited to get started studying creative writing.
Her parents, Sam Walker and Kenya Ulmer, graduated from George Washington University in 1996 and 1997 respectively. They first met in Madison Hall. Both said they were happy to see their daughter at their alma mater.
“It's kind of surreal, being back on campus and seeing how things have changed and some things are the same,” Ms. Ulmer said of moving her daughter to campus. “I think I have one more cry left in me.”
In her first year, Ms. Walker’s parents said they hope she becomes even more independent, meets new friends and embraces GW’s international community.
“I would hope that in terms of being around this community that she gets to absorb all of the different cultures that she's around and gets to know how it is to do her own thing for a little while,” Mr. Walker said.
With buff and blue balloons all over campus, fall move-in saw families carrying boxes and suitcases filled with clothes and room decorations from cars with GW volunteers there to help with the heavy lifting. Parents and students took selfies around GW landmarks to commemorate the special occasion and stopped by the lemonade stand outside of the F Street House residence of President Thomas J. LeBlanc and his wife, Anne LeBlanc, for light refreshments in the summer heat.
At the GW Family Welcome Suite, sponsored by the Division of Development and Alumni Relations, there were drinks and snacks as well as tables with GW staff to answer questions about the university’s resources. There was also a sweatshirt distribution where all new students could pick up their very own GW sweatshirt.
Move-In events also included a pop-up shop with Bed, Bath & Beyond, sponsored by the Residence Hall Association, and First Night at University Yard, sponsored by the Center for Student Engagement, which welcomed new and returning students with food, activities and games Saturday evening. It also marked the beginning of Welcome Week, which includes events such as a pizza night in the Newman Center and a screening of “The Avengers: Infinity War” on University Yard.
During Move-In, Dr. LeBlanc volunteered to help families move into residence halls on GW’s Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses and took the time to learn about them and what they hope to gain from their GW experience. He advocated for this year’s sweatshirt distribution, and said he was excited to get the students started on their collection of GW gear.
“I'm hoping that one thing that will happen this year is we'll see more visible signs of student pride in GW, starting with the sweatshirt but hopefully not ending with the sweatshirt,” Dr. LeBlanc said.
Associate Vice Provost and Dean of the Student Experience Cissy Petty was also volunteering with move-in, bringing her enthusiasm with her as she met with families and new GW students.
“There's always this feeling of hope and opportunity,” Dr. Petty said. “It's just the high-energy part about what the possibilities are for young people, and I think GW is the perfect place for that.”
Enjoy a gallery of photos from Saturday’s move-in: