Rebecca Gerdis finished packing the car and left her home in Westchester County, N.Y., around 7 a.m. Thursday for the drive to campus. A little over two hours later, she arrived to begin a new journey: as a member of the Class of 2025.
“I’m so excited,” said Gerdis as she and her mom, Gabby, lugged some of her belongings to her second-floor room in Fox House. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people and taking interesting classes. This is a good school, and the beautiful campus really drew me in.”
Gabby also gave Union high marks.
“There are amazing professors here,” she said. “I’m really happy she chose Union.”
The Class of 2025 officially arrived on campus Thursday with a daylong series of events planned to make a smooth transition for students and their parents.
More than 7,400 applicants vied to join the 566 that make up the Class of 2025. The students come from 29 states and the District of Columbia. They represent 20 countries, including China, India, Japan, Russia and South Korea.
The class is one of the College’s most diverse and global, with 32 percent international or students of color. The academic standing is solid, with 57 percent of the class ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class. Fourteen percent of the incoming students are first-generation students or the first in their immediate family to attend college.
Outside of Fox, West College and Richmond House, an army of volunteers made up of orientation leaders, resident advisers and members of athletic teams assisted families with the move-in. With military precision, they unloaded vehicles, piled mini refrigerators, televisions, bikes, bottled water and fresh linens into oversized bins, and rolled them to the entrance of each residence hall before carrying the items into the building.
“It is such a pleasure to get to be one of the first faces to welcome our new students to the Union community,” said Aileen Schatz, director of the First-Year Experience. “We have been gearing up to welcome new students and are looking forward to sharing our love for Union with this class.”
Before checking into their residence halls, all students reported to the COVID-19 testing site in Memorial Field House for mandatory testing. The College is committed to providing in-person instruction, and all students, faculty and staff are required to be vaccinated.
After spending their final year of high school learning remotely, most first-years are looking forward to beginning a typical college experience.
“Being in-person adds to the excitement,” said Kate Schurick, dean of First-Year students. “Our students bring so much energy to campus, and it is wonderful to see our campus come to life. In addition to welcoming our new students, we are also planning a special program called Sophomore September. We wanted to give our sophomore students a chance to get to know more members of their class. They spent a lot of time being remote last year and we want them to have an opportunity to make some more personal connections on campus.”
There were two events Thursday for parents, including a meet and greet with College officials in the Nott Memorial and a reception with the Parent Engagement team hosted by College Relations in the Chester Arthur Courtyard.
Standing outside his room in West College, Dubem Okafor exchanged greetings with some of his floor mates. Growing up in Nigeria before moving to San Diego five years ago, he was considering Ivy League schools until a school counselor told him about Union.
“I thought going to a strong liberal arts school like Union would be a better option for me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this year.” He plans to major in biology.
As first-year students settled in throughout the day, President David R. Harris canvassed the campus to offer a personal welcome. Later, he and other College leaders officially welcomed the Class of 2025 at Frank Bailey Field.
“It is a long road to get to college,” Harris said. “It’s not easy to get to Union College, but you have done an incredible job to this point. Take a moment to think about what you have done to get here. Congratulations.”
Returning students will check in beginning Friday and continuing through the weekend.
Opening Convocation, in which the Union community celebrates the official start of the academic year, will be held outdoors at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, on Roger Hull Plaza. An all-campus barbeque will follow.
Fall term classes begin Monday, Sept. 13.