The annual migration of students from all around the country, all around the world, for that matter, to their new home in DeKalb is underway. It's Move-In Day at Northern Illinois University.
Adding to the usual logistical challenges of moving 4,278 students into NIU's dorms, more than an inch of rain fell this morning, often in strong bursts. That didn't discourage hundreds of volunteers, who donned plastic ponchos or just went ahead and got their hair soaked hauling possessions from mini-vans to dorm rooms.
It was NIU President Doug Baker's first move-in day at NIU. He started out by helping students move into the newly-refurbished Gilbert Hall, which was transformed from shabby administrative spaces to modern housing for juniors and seniors. Baker says the energy of the volunteers helping in the move shows the spirit of the school and its welcoming culture.
Part of student learning is in the classroom, but part of it is being engaged across the university.
Moving-In Day is one of those opportunities for students to "get engaged" in their community. Kristel Burgos is president of the Philippine Student Association. She rounded up ten members of her organization to help others move into Gilbert Hall -- even though they knew early in the day they faced a lot of hard work in the rain. She said they all felt it was important to make the newest transfer students feel like part of a family as they settled in to their new home.
Opening Day in the residence halls is just the beginning of a long welcome weekend at NIU. Friday morning at 11:00, students are invited to an "academic convocation" ceremony at the Convocation Center. That's where they can learn more about campus traditions and academic opportunities from Baker and other faculty members. There are also welcome back picnics, concerts, and a Day of Service scheduled before classes get underway Monday.