OXFORD, Miss. – This week, more than 1,200 volunteers from the University of Mississippi, Oxford and Lafayette County are helping more than 5,400 students move into student housing at Ole Miss. The number of students moving in is larger than the populations of about 80 percent of cities across the state.
Volunteers are essential for creating a welcoming environment and providing much-needed assistance with luggage and belongings, said Lionel Maten, UM director of student housing.
“Our culture of service is evident on campus during move-in,” Maten said. “There is no better way to welcome students and their families to our Ole Miss family than by greeting them with local, friendly help from within our own community. We are grateful to each person who is giving their time to make the move-in experience a pleasant and memorable one.”
The move-in schedule expands on a successful 2012 program, when renovations and construction dictated a need for more flexibility with the move-in schedule. Before 2012, all moves into student housing occurred on the same day.
Designing the enhanced move-in plan involved a dedicated committee that began rethinking the process last year. The new schedule staggers the days and times that students move into each housing unit, which alleviates much of the congestion on campus, creates a more manageable environment for faculty, staff and volunteers, and boosts business throughout the community.
“Last year’s plan received praise from parents, students and staff on campus,” Maten said. “Naturally, we wanted to build on that success this year. We also heard from local businesses, who reported numerous benefits from having families in town over the course of several days, rather than for just one night. That really impressed upon us the impact that our move-in event makes on the surrounding community.”
“The connections made to the university and to the Oxford community during move-in last well beyond graduation,” said Samra Ward, a student marketing assistant who managed volunteer recruitment for this year’s move-in. “It has been an incredible experience to see the ongoing support from local businesses and organizations who want to make sure that the students of Ole Miss aren’t just nameless faces.
“They realize that move-in is a chance to make meaningful connections and find people who share similar interests.”
Besides volunteer support, local businesses have donated more than $1,000 in prizes to be awarded to groups participating in move-in. Drawings for these prizes will be held Monday (Aug. 26), the first day of classes.