Like the swallows to Capistrano, the students will be returning to the Grounds of the University of Virginia this weekend.
Many upperclassmen and student-athletes are already back, but the main wave will break on the shoals of Charlottesville on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, when an estimated 6,000 students are expected to check into University housing, including first-year residence halls. About 400 student greeters will be available near the first-year dorms to assist with the move.
First-year students were told which day to arrive when they received their room assignments. Parents and students will begin unloading on Friday, the first official day of move-in weekend.
“Our department will have about 50 people spread around five first-year housing areas to assist families,” said Rebecca White, director of the Department of Parking and Transportation. “Their tasks will be to be sure the traffic flows are followed, people get parked safety… unload quickly and then move on to the long-term parking at the stadium.”
University Police officers, as well as police from Charlottesville and Albemarle County, will assist with traffic control around Grounds.
“Our primary focus will be safety, assisting with any medical calls, assisting with traffic flow, registering bicycles and providing overall support to the parents and students,” University Police Lt. Christopher Easton said.
The traffic choke points for local drivers to avoid are McCormick Road between the Emmet Street ramp and Bonnycastle Drive, Alderman Road at both Stadium Road and Tree House Drive, and the Alderman/McCormick intersection, White and Easton agreed.
Expect backups along Emmet Street, Alderman Road and McCormick roads in the vicinity of student housing areas, White said. The peak hours of congestion are expected to be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
“We will be parking families in nearby lots and in some cases, will be using grassy areas closer to the residence halls where appropriate,” White said. “We ask that families unload within 30 minutes and then relocate to long-term parking at Scott Stadium.”
The University Transit System will run a holiday schedule on Friday, with the Northline, U-Loop and Central Grounds Shuttle Service in service.
“There is no UTS service on Saturday,” White said. “The Charlottesville Area Transit Trolley will run both Friday and Saturday, but will likely detour to Emmet Street.”
Since moving is usually hot work (long-term forecasts predict temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s), U.Va. Dining Services will provide free water at three locations Friday and Saturday – Ern Commons, in front of the Runk Dining Room and at the McCormick Road housing area quad.
The student meal plans begin with lunch on Friday. Parents may eat for free in residential dining rooms when accompanied by a student who is on a meal plan.
Observatory Hill and Runk dining halls will be open Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Fresh Food Company in Newcomb Hall will open on Saturday and Sunday, from 5 to 8 p.m. each day. On Sunday, Observatory Hill Dining Hall will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Runk Dining Hall will be open from 9 am. to 8 p.m.
Arriving students bring a lot of things with them, and there will be about 17 employees from the U.Va Recycling office to assist students and families with recycling.
“We will have crews stationed on Hancock, Bonnycastle, Cauthen, Woody, Watson-Webb and Balz-Dobie houses breaking down cardboard and separating recyclables,” recycling supervisor Jason Snow said. “We will also have a couple of roving crews going through the outlying areas such as Bice House, Brown College, Copeley, Lambeth and the International Residential College.”
Recyclers suggest students to pack clothes around fragile items, or use crumbled newspaper that can then be recycled, instead of using non-recyclable plastic foam packing peanuts.
To help new students become more familiar with Grounds, Residence Life staff will host welcome meetings, take residents to events on Grounds and organize social events for their living communities.
Sullivan will address incoming students at the Old Cabell Hall auditorium at 3 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday. Opening convocation and the Honor Induction for all new students will be held Sunday at 6 p.m., followed by a reception at Carr’s Hill at 7:30 p.m.
For information about move-in weekend events, see the Fall Orientation calendar.
(Student writer Dana Cypress also contributed to this article.)