Betsy Teitler stood outside Davidson House Sunday morning and smiled as an army of students and their parents streamed by, lugging refrigerators, microwaves and other college essentials.
It was move-in day for the 578 members of the Class of 2015 and Teitler was relieved to have gotten a jumpstart on the organized chaos that signals the start of a new academic year. Teitler and her husband, David, had helped their son, Sam, move most of his stuff from their home in Rye, N.Y., a few days earlier when Sam arrived for pre-orientation activities.
Still, the experience was exciting.
“We are so proud of him,” Betsy said of the oldest of her three sons as she waited for Jake, 15, and Alex, 13, to emerge from Davidson with Sam.
For families like the Teitlers, move-in day was the culmination of a process that began many months earlier, when their college search got under way. The Class of 2015 was selected from among 5,151 applicants, the second largest in the College’s history. The students hail from 30 states and 12 countries, giving Union one of its most diverse classes. Twenty percent of the incoming class consists of domestic multicultural students, while 5 percent is international.
The students also boast the highest average SAT and ACT scores for any incoming class in Union’s history: 1300 (on a scale of 1600) and 1940 (on a scale of 2400) for the SAT and 29 for the ACT.
For Sam Teitler, the choice to attend Union was clinched during a fall open house.
“We arrived at 8 in the morning, and by 6:30 that night, he was still checking things out,” said Betsy. “I had to drag him off campus, he loved the place so much.”
Sam, who plans to major in engineering, said Union’s interdisciplinary approach, strong liberal arts tradition and caring outreach to the community were among the factors that lured him to Schenectady.
“It’s not just engineering and it’s not just liberal arts,” said Teitler, who applied during Early Decision. “It’s more balanced than other schools I looked at. The campus is great, people seem organized. I loved Union the first time I came here.”
Ran Wang and Yuqiao Yuan had never seen the campus until they moved their belongings into Webster House. The two women from China conducted their college search primarily through the Internet. Both were accepted at a number of top schools and felt Union, recently named one of the top 30 schools in the country by Forbes, provided the best fit.
As a first time visitor to the U.S, Wang admitted she was nervous about the language and cultural challenges. But the welcome she received at Union made the transition easier.
“People here have been very friendly and helpful,” she said before heading off for a full schedule of orientation activities.
Throughout the day, dozens of volunteers from Residence Life helped carry stuff into rooms, while members of Campus Safety and Facilities were on hand to answer questions.
College President Stephen C. Ainlay and his wife, Judith, along with their springer spaniel, Winston, greeted families across campus.
In the afternoon, students received an official welcome from Ainlay and other College leaders in Memorial Chapel before saying goodbye to their families. They then headed off to their group orientation activities, including posing for their class picture at the Nott Memorial.
For Barrett Flynn of Andover, Mass., Sunday was his second orientation. After two years at Clemson University, Flynn craved the personal attention found at a college like Union.
“At Clemson, as one of 17,000, you often feel like a number,” said Flynn, who plans to study environmental policy. “Here, you are a face. You feel like person. I can’t wait to be a part of the community.”
Residence halls open for returning students Tuesday, Sept. 6.
Opening convocation, in which the Union community celebrates the official start of the academic year, is set for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6 in Memorial Chapel, followed by an all-campus barbecue at 5:30 p.m. on Rugby Field.
Fall term classes begin Wednesday, Sept. 7.