By JEROD CLAPP
NEW ALBANY —
Even after hauling her family from Indianapolis to Grant Line Road, she still had a lengthy to-do list.
Aside from taking tubs of her belongings from the family truck to her apartment, Haley Pace still had to sign some forms, get her keys, register her mobile devices on the network and maybe find time to mingle with her new roommates.
But she and 398 other students moving in to Indiana University Southeast’s residence halls on Thursday had staffers and volunteers to help make the transition a little easier. Centralized check-in points and an assist from the school’s information technology department also eased the process.
“I thought it would be busier here, kind of frantic to get everything together, but it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be,” Pace said. “It was all brought to me. I didn’t even have to pick up anything.”
She can thank Amanda Stonecipher, who is entering her second year as the director of residence life. Stonecipher applied some lessons learned from last year’s move-in day to make the process smoother for her staff, students and parents this year.
She said of the students moving in, 134 of them are returning from last year. With the residence halls at capacity and an active waiting list, she said making move-in day easier was paramount to her department.
Instead of getting students to sign in at the residence hall they’d live in, families checked in at two locations and then headed to where they’d set up home base.
Stonecipher said centralizing check-in points allowed her staff to get information to everyone easier without spreading them too thin.
That resulted in community advisers — student leaders in charge of each floor of a residence hall — moving around the buildings instead of filing paperwork for students and their parents.
“In the past, they worked the check-in table, so they were tied to that for a six-hour shift,” Stonecipher said. “I want them out, meeting students, parents and reminding them of community meetings and being more interactive.”
While she said the goal was to get everything for students set up by 4 p.m., the information technology department on staff would help students until 8 p.m.
Danny Clements, user support lead, said he had 18 IT employees helping students set up their computers and other devices for use on campus. But they also had to fit in their regular duties for the rest of the campus.
“For the lodge, it makes it easier, but we still have requests coming in from all over campus,” Clements said. “It’s a balancing act of taking care of the residents moving in, but also taking care of emergency problems faculty have as they get ready for the school year.”
Between smartphones, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles and other devices, he said each student might need to set up three or more of their devices. To ensure the university could handle the load, new wireless switches and routers were installed in each of the residence halls.
Isaac Jackson, a sophomore and resident on campus, volunteered to help students carry their belongings to their rooms.
He said when he moved in last year, it was a relief to have someone moving his personal effects to his dorm, so he wanted to return the favor to this year’s new residents.
“It was great, it took a lot of stress out of move-in day,” Jackson said. “It really helped us get everything set up so we could go to the activities at night.”
Pace’s mother, Jennifer, said with the anxiety of sending her daughter off to college, the whole process of moving her in was easier than she expected.
“I think it went pretty well compared to some of her friends who went to different colleges,” she said. “We were given ample time to know where we needed to park and get help moving in.”
Stonecipher said the informational mailers her department sent home to residents also seemed to help guide parents and students in the process. But she said even though it’s stressful, she likes the energy on campus on days like that.
“All universities spend a lot of time planning for the arrival of the new fall semester,” Stonecipher said. “It’s always exciting for everyone because it’s a fresh start for them.”