The sun was shining, the humidity was high and the cicadas were singing as car load after car load of new students unloaded their belongings and started moving into the University of West Florida’s dorms for the beginning of a new year.
“We’re excited” said UWF President Martha Saunders, who was out greeting new students as they lugged their suitcases and garbage bags filled with clothes, books and other assorted college student necessities. She says there are a lot more students to greet this year. “Enrollment is up significantly. Of course we never have the final number until after ‘drop and add’, but we have been trending up all summer.”
Helping students with thier move were some members of Alpha Delta Pi. Cheyanne, a sorority sister and a senior at UWF, remembered what her first move-in day was like. “It was hectic! It was a lot of people coming in at once and it’s really nice to have the help. I know my freshman year, four years ago, it was really nice having the help and now it’s nice to give back and help them.”
And there are a lot more students to help. All the housing units on the UWF campus are full. Dr. Saunders says that a turnaround. “We had a down turn for a while but something happened! We’re still getting calls. I just heard from the housing director who said we’re getting calls this morning from people that say ‘if I come over can I have a room’”.
Lots of student groups were assisting new and returning students lug their stuff to their rooms, including the UWF Argos football team. “We had to move our own stuff in because we moved in before anyone else for fall camp,” said Dalton Simpler, an offensive lineman for the Argos. “We got the whole football teams out here. We got fraternities and sororities. So we got a bunch of people out here”.
— UWF Football (@UWFFootball) August 23, 2019
Once students move in it’s time to get on with campus life. For many students that means the first time they’ve lived on their own. “Be aware of your surroundings,” said Marc Cossich, Police Chief at the University. He’s beginning his second year on the job and this is his second move-in day. He says safety on campus means not only taking advantage of what the school has to offer, but also using some common sense. “Get the information from the university, get the Argo Alerts, be aware of your surroundings, make sure you lock your doors. Normally when you’re at home, in high school, you don’t lock your door to your bedroom that often. Now you’ve got to start locking it. Start locking your car, start locking your residence hall, where ever you’re going. Don’t go around at night by yourself. Those are the simple things we always want students to always remember.”
The chief also points out that students on their own may start experimenting with alcohol now that they are away from home. He says the university has information and programs to help students learn about and cope with the consequences of having a bit too much to drink. “There’s a lot of resources on campus that they can go to if they feel like they need help with alcohol, or need to understand what happens to your body when you do drink it.”
Later in the morning some thunderstorms made their way through the campus, but that didn’t stop the move-in activities of the UWF staff and the new and returning students. And that activity is just beginning. Classes begin Monday morning.