DeKALB – Droves of bright-eyed freshmen arrived at Northern Illinois University on Friday, and although the first day at college can be overwhelming, many upperclassmen were there to lend a hand, helping the new arrivals get situated on campus.
Move-In Day is an annual tradition that kicks off NIU’s Welcome Days, designed for new and returning students to celebrate and get ready for the first day of classes.
Patty David, a junior, joined members of the Tri Sigma sorority to help with Move-In Day.
“We’re helping them from their cars, helping them get to their keys, finding their room,” she said. “It can be really confusing to everyone.”
David had advice for freshmen as they come to the new environment. They should “look at organizations and stay in common areas and lounges.”
“I always am sitting in Neptune [Hall] by the dining hall,” she said. “You can just talk to people there. It’s just great to meet people on campus.”
Sophomore Abbie Lampe said she recognizes Move-In Day can be overwhelming for freshmen, but the experience was different for her this year.
“It’s cool to be on the other side of it,” she said.
Lampe said she knows underclassmen will adjust to campus life in the coming days.
“It’s the best decision you ever make,” she said.
Neptune Hall is among areas of campus that have seen building improvements in recent years.
Dan Pedersen, director of housing and residential services for the university, said the residential building went through a recent renovation and has been a hit with new and returning students.
The improvements included upgrading the community bathrooms, adding some all-gender restroom facilities, adding air conditioning and upgrading the student rooms.
The university’s residences are about 97% full this year, officials said.
Volunteers on campus were tasked with unloading vehicles and transporting boxes, bags and other items into the dorms.
“The big issue is just having enough people to move everything in one go,” said Jim Kerkstra, a junior. “It’s pretty easy.”
He recalled what it was like when he moved onto campus as a freshman a few years ago and said it inspired him to pay it forward.
“I just pulled the car up, a bunch of guys came to help me out, and it’s just pretty easy,” he said. “I was probably like, ‘Oh hey, they helped me out. I should return the favor.’ ”