Sacramento State’s ‘move-in day’ draws record number of freshmen

Video: Freshmen move into their dorms at Sac State

1,700 students, including 1,100 freshmen move into dorms on annual Move In Day.
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1,700 students, including 1,100 freshmen move into dorms on annual Move In Day.

Sacramento State was abuzz with activity Friday as families driving cars stuffed with belongings lined up to unload at the university’s residence halls during “move-in day.”

The line of cars, trucks, moving vans and even a taxicab carried a record number of freshmen – 1,100 – to the dorms. A total of 1,716 students will move onto the campus by Monday.

The demand for rooms was so great this year that six dorm lounges were converted into bedrooms, said Michael Speros, director of housing and residential life at California State University, Sacramento. An additional 100 freshmen are on the waiting list, he said.

New student housing was a key part of former President Alexander Gonzalez’s Destination 2010 plan, designed to transform Sacramento State’s image from that of a commuter college to a more traditional residential campus.

Because a new dorm is being built on a parking lot, parents couldn’t park in front of the residence halls this year as they could in past years. Instead, after dropping off their child’s belongings, parents had to take a shuttle back to the dorms.

“People want to be here,” said Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen on Friday during a visit to the Alumni Center, where families were picking up keys and meal cards. He said he’d talked to new students from Reno, San Diego and Palm Springs. “It’s pretty neat,” he said.

Volunteers in matching T-shirts directed hundreds of vehicles – some still festooned with messages of congratulations from high school graduation – to the designated dorm. Free snacks, information booths and appearances by school mascot Herky gave the campus a festive atmosphere.

Friday started early for most families, with some lining up at the Alumni Center as early as 6:30 a.m. to begin the sign-in process. But few started their day as early as Jayne Prins and her family, who traveled 51/2 hours from California City in Kern County.

The future teacher picked Sacramento State because of its education program and because the university offered her a good financial aid package.

On Friday, the freshman, her mother and older sister waited in line 45 minutes to get her room key and meal card and then drove over to Desmond Hall. It didn’t take long for a crew of cheerful sorority sisters to help transport Prins’ bedding, clothes, school supplies, a coffee pot and toiletries to her new room.

A panda made from a paper plate with Prins’ name on it indicated her room and bunk. She was a little concerned about sleeping in the top bunk but happy to see she would have her own desk and chest of drawers underneath. Across the room, a bunk bed and two more desks would belong to her two roommates, who communicated with her this summer by Instagram and by text.

Her mother, Barbara Gosmeyer, said she has been preparing herself for this moment since her daughter was accepted in January. “It scares her a little bit since I’m going to be so far from her,” Prins said.

Down the hall, parents were sitting at tables at the Parents Lounge drinking coffee and water and filling out cheerfully colored cards provided by the Parents & Families Program. The cards will be delivered to their children in two weeks, just about the time students start to get homesick, volunteers said.

El Dorado Hills resident Olivia Wilson, 19, waited in a line at the Alumni Center with her parents, Melanie and Andrew. Both parents attended Sacramento State, as did her grandmother. They said that they are happy that Olivia chose Sacramento State but that she picked it on her own, without pressure.

Olivia said she selected the Sacramento campus to be part of the Hornet cheer squad, on which she will be the flier.

More than 250 volunteers – mostly students – offered directions and helped students move into their rooms. Senior Halley Wilkinson said she likes to volunteer on move-in day. “You get to share that moment with them,” she said.

Frankie Lopez also was helping. He recalled his time living in Desmond Hall as “probably the most fun I had in college.”

Danny Reynolds directed traffic out front. The father of three Sacramento State students said he’s helped out for the last three years as a member of the school’s Parent Success Council. “I love it,” he said. “I love those kids.”

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert