Over the summer, Paige Smith of Springfield, Mass. and Jenn Andrews of Rochester, N.Y. began coordinating what each would bring when they moved into their new residence hall.
So by the time the new roommates checked into West College Sunday morning, the essentials for any successful pairing were in place: refrigerator, television and vacuum cleaner.
"We're in pretty good shape," said Smith, who brought along her parents and her two younger sisters and brother to help out.
The Class of 2016 officially arrived on campus Sunday, swarming the residence halls with a healthy supply of bottled water, clean linens and anxiety over the journey that awaits them.
The 592 first-year students were selected from among a record 5,565 applicants, marking one of the most competitive years in the College’s admissions history. The students hail from 26 states and 13 countries. Nearly 19 percent of the incoming class consists of domestic multicultural students, while 7 percent is international.
For Molly MacElroy, director of Residential Life, move-in day gives her staff of 37 residential assistants and 60 orientation advisors a chance to help the first-year students and their families make the smooth transition to college, whether by carting boxes or fielding questions such as "Can I have an aquarium in my room?"
"Everybody is excited to be here," said MacElroy, as members of the men's lacrosse team, led by Coach Paul Werhum, helped recycle the endless amount of cardboard once filled with the basics. "It gets us back into our regular routine."
College President Stephen C. Ainlay and his wife, Judith, along with their springer spaniel, Winston, walked to each residence hall, greeting students as they moved in.
The Class of 2016 would receive an official welcome from Ainlay and other College leaders later in Memorial Chapel. Then they would say goodbye to their families before heading off to their group orientation activities. Orientation activities continue on Monday, with a full slate of programs, including a talk by Andre Dubus, author of Townie (this year's summer reading for incoming students).
"I'm going to miss her," Paige Smith's mom, Marianne said, "but I'm so excited for her to embark on the next step. Union is such a good fit for her."
Residence halls open for returning students Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Fall term classes begin Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Opening convocation, in which the Union community celebrates the official start of the academic year, is set for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4 in Memorial Chapel, followed by an all-campus barbecue on Rugby Field.
Check back later for more photos and a video celebrating the Class of 2016.