Moving Toward a Smooth Freshman Welcome


Michelle Peltier

Oriflamme members and new SLU families cross Laclede to Grand and Griesedieck residence halls.

On Wednesday, Aug. 23, approximately 1600 freshmen flocked to campus with their bed sheets, mini fridges and giant smiles on their faces. The long awaited Fall Welcome move-in day began at 8 a.m. and ended at around 6 p.m. However, despite previous move-in days, this year marked the first time of moving freshmen in on one day compared to two.

Pulling up to Laclede parking garage and the parking lots outside of Spring Hall and Marguerite, freshmen and their families arrived during their allotted time blocks and were greeted by orange-shirted Oriflamme leaders playing music. Though the morning ran swiftly, traffic piled up by mid-afternoon, junior and Oriflamme leader Meredith Walker explained. “Once the flow of people became heavy around noon, most cars were stopped on Laclede, and traffic was pretty backed up on Vandeventer,” she said. “Because of the location of Grand and Gries right next to each other, I think it was very hard to gauge the large amount of students coming in.”

Michelle Peltier
Several hours into the fall 2017 move-in process, a long line of cars built up between Vandeventer and Grand Boulevards on Laclede.

Despite traffic pile-up, Assistant Director for Assignments and Marketing Myrinda Grantham was overall pleased how the process panned out. “Last year, most people came in the first hour-and-a-half of the three-hour time block, so at around noon, you could see it getting to be really busy again. As it got closer to 3 p.m., it slowed down, and then it got busy again after,” Grantham said. Instead of flip-flopping between crowded and uncrowded, she found that this year was steadier with the flow of students coming in.

One of the determining factors in pursuing a one-day move-in involved the ratio of students moving in on the first day compared to the second. According to Grantham, about 1200 freshmen were moved in Wednesday of last year and 250 people on Thursday. “To close off streets, have DPS out and Oriflamme up and energetic to move people in on a day two, the demand wasn’t as much there for the number of students that we had,” she explained. “We saw that moving 1200 students in on Wednesday was very feasible.”

Grantham and the committee involved with move-in have discussed measures to mitigate traffic for next year. These include using the entire Laclede parking garage and opening the faculty/staff entrance on the bottom as an exit for cars. They are still resolving where people should park if they make a quick trip for groceries and return. “One of the reasons contributing to all the traffic this year is that people moved their kid in and then went to Target, got all the stuff they wanted at Target, and then they came back in the traffic to try and park in Laclede garage,” she said.

With move-in being one day compared to two, Grantham and the committee found that the staff and Oriflamme leaders remained energized since they did not need to rebound for a second day. From the get-go, freshman Seriah McQueen felt a part of the SLU family as Oriflamme leaders moved her into Spring Hall with smiles on their faces. “They really helped make me feel that much more comfortable than I would have anywhere else,” she said.

Freshman Jacob Lear shared McQueen’s positive experience. Though he waited to park for over an hour, Lear explained how the leaders’ warm welcome made his decision even more worthwhile. “A few of the Oriflamme leaders remembered me from SLU 101, and I thought that was cool, because you meet a lot of people,” he said. “To remember me from the masses, I was impressed.”

At the end of the day, Grantham mentioned that freshmen are moving into a dorm. While it can only be fun to some extent, she is striving to make it even more successful and accessible for incoming SLU families.