Flurry of new students and energy in the spotlight during UMSL’s Move-In Day

UMSL Move-In Day 2017

Approximately 300 students moved into Oak Hall during Triton Take-Off weekend before the start of the fall semester. A total of 550 students currently live in university-owned residential facilities. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Leading up to last week’s move from New Orleans to St. Louis, Lindsay Salassi anticipated some stress. There was the 11-hour drive, the boxes of stuff and the simple fact that she was leaving home.

Lindsay Salassi, physics major, on Move-In Day

After an 11-hour drive from New Orleans, Lindsay Salassi was delighted with the friendliness that greeted her and her family in St. Louis – and with the fact that she’d been assigned to a SpongeBob SquarePants-themed floor of Oak Hall. (Photo by Evie Hemphill)

But most of those feelings had subsided by the time she and her family arrived at the University of Missouri–St. Louis on Aug. 18.

“I was worried about it being stressful because my dad especially doesn’t really want to let go of me,” Salassi said that morning. “But I think he’s kind of accepting it more now that we’re here.”

He was at least keeping busy, as Salassi quickly put him and other helpers to work while settling into her new room in Oak Hall.

“I feel like the fact that I am on the SpongeBob floor is a very good omen for this year since I am obsessed with SpongeBob,” said Salassi, an incoming physics major at the university. “And everyone’s really friendly here – not even just at UMSL but in St. Louis. Even at the hotel we’re staying at, everyone’s super friendly.”

UMSL staff members Megan Green and Jonathan Lidgus

Campus teams led by New Student Programs Director Megan Green (at left) and Director of Residential Life and Housing Jonathan Lidgus ensured that the newest members of the Triton community arrived to find a crowd of volunteers eager to assist. (Photo by Evie Hemphill)

As she and other new Tritons moved into South Campus living spaces, UM System President Mun Choi and UMSL Chancellor Tom George joined a large crowd of volunteers on hand to assist.

Rene Knott, co-host of “Today in St. Louis” on KSDK (Channel 5), stopped by during the morning, too. His feature, which aired on the local network Aug. 24, delved into the emotions of new UMSL freshmen and their parents as they made the college transition.

“I won’t let her see it, but I’ll be crying all the way home,” one father said.

Knott also discussed the value of living on campus with Jonathan Lidgus, director of residential life and housing.

“We really want our students to feel like this is their new home,” Lidgus told him, adding that “all studies say that living on campus connects you better to your classes, to your professors, helps you get a better GPA.”

Dornette and Tori Foster while unpacking for college

Dornette Foster (at left) was on hand to help her youngest daughter, Tori, settle in during Move-In Day. (Photo by Evie Hemphill)

From the perspective of Tori Foster, a freshman communication major, Move-In Day was a definite success.

“Everybody has been really friendly and open – I’m just excited,” she said.

Her mother, Dornette Foster, agreed, calling it a fun morning all around. And she wasn’t feeling too emotional yet, though she expected she would after the buzz of activity and unpacking was over.

“This is my youngest daughter,” she said. “My oldest daughter goes here too – she’s in her junior year. I think it will be more emotional once I get home and realize I’m by myself since she’s the last one.”

For a fuller view of Move-In Day 2017, check out the KSDK story.

The UMSL Experience

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