More students opt for on-campus living experience

Move-In Day 2014 1

Freshman Matt Sullentrup (center) moves into Oak Hall Aug. 22 with a little help from his parents, Mary and Greg Sullentrup, and a handful of returning students. (Photos by August Jennewein)

Sweltering temperatures didn’t stop the University of Missouri–St. Louis community from rallying around new members of the Triton family on Friday. A crowd of student volunteers and residence life staff braved the late-summer heat to welcome new students on Move-In Day, lending a hand to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“I think that’s just a wonderful thing to see,” said Jonathan Lidgus, director of residential life and housing. “Move-In Day is like a major holiday among our staff – it signals the beginning of the school year but also the return of all of this energy to campus.”

Incoming music major Matt Sullentrup and his parents arrived early in the day to get him settled into Oak Hall, a six-story residence hall housing more than 400 UMSL students this year, including most of the 225 first-time freshmen who are living on campus.

Sullentrup said he chose UMSL because of the well-rounded educational experience it offers – and he expects living on campus to be an important part of that.

“I wanted to make sure I could get as much of the college experience as possible,” said Sullentrup, who also is enrolled in the Pierre Laclede Honors College. “It’s been an overwhelming few days having to meet so many people in a completely new environment, but I’m really happy with my decision to live on campus. I’ve really been enjoying it here so far. Oak Hall is great, and everyone has been really nice and helpful.”

Move-In Day 2014 2

Upperclassmen Briana Robertson (left) and Binta Cisse joined UMSL Chancellor Tom George and a large crew of fellow volunteers and residence life staff members to greet incoming students last week. (Click image to enlarge.)

Nearly 1,000 UMSL students are taking advantage of university-owned housing options this semester – an overall uptick of 6 percent. The figure includes 484 students in Oak Hall, Villa Hall and Villa North Hall; 235 students in Mansion Hill apartments; and about 225 in University Meadows.

Junior accounting major Binta Cisse was among the returning students and staff on hand to greet and assist new students during Move-In Day. She said she’s found on-campus life rewarding and convenient.

“I have more time to study, and it’s easy for me to access campus resources such as faculty, academic advisers, the library and computer labs,” Cisse said. “I also enjoy meeting new people from other places and have a wonderful apartment where I’m living on my own for the first time.”

Lidgus attributes the steady growth to concerted efforts making UMSL friendlier to on-campus living. Increased on-campus programming and the construction on the Recreation and Wellness Center are two examples.

Curt Coonrod, vice provost and dean of students, added that many programs and activities have been planned for the first several weeks of the semester to keep students engaged and complement the learning in the classroom.

“We are absolutely delighted to see the overwhelming interest in students wanting to live on campus,” Coonrod said. “Having more students living on campus creates the synergy needed to provide a more dynamic student life experience.”

The UMSL Experience


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