U.Va. Prepares to Welcome Wave of Students, Families This Saturday

August 17, 2010

August 17, 2010 — The University of Virginia Grounds will be inundated with students, families and friends on Saturday, the annual Move-in Day when new students arrive and older ones return.

Many University departments will be working hard that day to assure that everything runs smoothly as families find residence house rooms, unload cars and get students settled. About 15,000 people are estimated to be on Grounds Saturday.

The unloading is scheduled to start at 8 a.m., according to chief housing officer Mark Doherty, who estimated that about 1,200 students, including residence assistants, athletes, ROTC cadets and foreign students, have already moved in. Some older students will avoid the rush.

"The bulk of the upper classmen will wait until the first-year students are already here," he said.

About 40 percent of the second-year students will live on Grounds, and about 30 percent of the third-year class will be living on Grounds. There are about 6,200 beds available on Grounds.

Doherty said all of his staff, about 140 people, will be working that day, with the unloadings ending around 5 p.m. Keys will be available for late arrivals.

The University Police Department will deploy about 24 officers this year, starting around 6 a.m. and working until "things slow down significantly and most of the students are moved in," Lt. Maryann Gritmon said.

Officers will be directing traffic from the intersection of Emmet Street and the McCormick Road ramp through the intersection at McCormick and Alderman roads to Stadium and Alderman roads.

"The only traffic light we will be working will be the light at McCormick and Alderman roads," Gritmon said. "There are signs around the University directing parents and students to their dorms in the most efficient manner to keep the flow of traffic running smoothly."

Families will have about a 30-minute grace period to unload their vehicles, said Jonathan Monceaux, transportation demand management professional with the Department of Parking and Transportation. He and other P&T workers will be spotting open parking spaces and directing families to them. After the vehicles are unloaded, free parking is available all day at Scott Stadium. Because of the anticipated traffic congestion, regularly scheduled University buses will not be running on Saturday.

About 400 volunteer greeters, mostly second-, third- and fourth-year students, will assist with everything from answering questions to helping move boxes. The greeters, 200 in the morning and a second crew of 200 in the afternoon, will be based around the first-year residence halls.

Organized by the University Programs Council, the greeters are volunteers who get to move in a day early and have a housing fee waived.

"Half of them live off-Grounds and volunteer just because they love doing it," said Jennifer Rau, activities adviser for the Office of the Dean of Students, which oversees UPC.

Resident advisers will also be working that day.

Dining Services employees will establish stations offering free water in the McCormick Road residence area and the Alderman Road and Observatory Hill residence area. Teams of dining employees will also be working the crowd, handing out bottles of water and powdered drink mixes to parents and students as they unload.

On Saturday, Runk and Observatory Hill dining halls will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch, and Runk will be open from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for dinner. Students can eat on their meal plan; guests are $5 per person.

A lot of cardboard is involved in moving, and the Recycling Division will maintain about 30 drop areas for it. The recycling division will be collecting cardboard for about two weeks, until Aug. 28. Bruce "Sonny" Beale, recycling program superintendent at U.Va.'s Division of Recoverable and Disposable Resources, anticipates handling in excess of 20 tons of cardboard.

Plastic, metal and glass recycling containers will also be available at the same drop stations.

Beale suggested that students, in an effort to reduce the amount of material to be recycled, pack their clothes in plastic trash bags instead of cardboard boxes.

"They're soft and malleable, so you can push them into spaces between boxes in the car," he said. "And then once the clothes are taken out you have something to put your trash in."

He also advised students and parents to be aware of packaging when they buy products.

"You should look at how sustainable the packaging is," Beale said. "You want to reduce the over-all amount of waste you have to discard."
 
The University Programs Council Special Events Committee will hold a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at the John Paul Jones Arena to kick off Welcome Week. Featuring hip-hop artist B.o.B., the concert is free and open to all students enrolled at U.Va. Concert-goers need to present a valid student ID.

— By Matt Kelly