Hundreds of wide-eyed students with arms full of boxes said goodbye to their parents and swarmed the campus at Fayetteville State University on Saturday morning.
On Saturday, just over 1,500 students moved into their dorm rooms at the university, recognized as one of the oldest historically black universities in North Carolina. The 2021 class is made up of about 650 freshmen.
“The parents are a little intrepid, but overall, it’s excitement,” said James A. Anderson, chancellor of the university since 2008.
He walked around campus Saturday morning to greet parents and welcome students.
It’ll probably take two weeks, but eventually they’ll be settled and feel at home, Anderson said.
For the past five years, Anderson said the freshman class at Fayetteville State University has grown. Students are attending to study nursing, criminal justice, psychology and communications, he said.
There are about 6,300 students enrolled, but in five years, Anderson said he projects that to grow to about 7,000 students. The university’s largest student population is those who take classes online, he said.
Anderson walked the halls of Renaissance Hall, the newest residence hall on campus. Up to 336 students can live in that building.
“They bring too much stuff,” Anderson said, chuckling. “I always tell them, don’t open all those boxes. Some are going back.”
The massive move-in day, dubbed Operation Smooth Move, was sponsored by the university’s Department of Housing and Residence Life.
Also on move-in day, students met with advisors and registered for classes. They will participate in a Pinning Ceremony on Sunday, when Anderson officially inducts the new class into the university through a reciting of the Freshman Pledge.
Courtney Thompson, director of Housing and Residence Life, moved around each the campus’ 10 residence halls to direct students.
Upperclassmen from the university’s athletics programs, Greek life and student organizations volunteered to help carry items in for the freshmen.
“They’re safe,” he said. “They need not worry, they’re in good hands.”
In one room, sisters Ciarra Evans and Ashanti Lancaster were folding their clothes and putting fresh sheets on the beds.
Lancaster, who is in her second year at the university, was elated when her sister chose Fayetteville State University. The sisters were always close, and knew they wanted to live together in college.
“I’m going through my frist year with my sister, it seemed like the right thing to do,” Evans said.
And even more thrilled was their mom, Ikeisha Reliford, who graduated from Fayetteville State University with her sister in 1999.
She helped her daughters clean up and unpack on Saturday.
“My sister and I had great experiences here,” Reliford said. “Not every family wants to run from each other as soon as they get to college.”
Staff writer Amanda Dolasinski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3528.