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Smooth sailing for move-in day, thanks to cool drinks, carts and helping hands

August 24, 2010

Check out the slide show for highlights of Chapman’s move-in day.

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Freshman Rachael Leitson had a small mountain of belongings to unpack, her beloved giraffe pillow pet was still at home and she wasn’t sure where to start as she surveyed her new home-away-from-home in Chapman University housing Tuesday morning. But she was happy.

“I fell in love with Chapman when I came to visit. It had everything you can imagine,” the freshman dance major from Cleveland, Ohio, said. “(Today’s) a little bit hectic, but it should be.”

Indeed, Chapman’s residential halls and campus at large were buzzing today, as 1,180 incoming freshmen arrived for orientation sessions, with some 1,200 also moving into residential housing, according to Deborah Miller, director of Housing and Residence Life. This year’s freshman class represents 43 states/territories and 39 countries – the most geographically diverse class in Chapman’s history.

“It’s fun and festive. It’s exciting for us — that’s why we’re in the profession. Our team loves it, but I think for families and first-year students there’s definitely a lot of excitement, and I think there are some nerves as well,” Miller said.

But Miller was prepared with a team that included 46 residential advisors, 100 student orientation assistants, a maintenance crew and the residential life staff. Making things a little more comfortable on the warm day was a misting station, buckets of icy cold drinks and a mass of bright blue oversize shopping carts for toting everything from laptops to Pop-Tarts up to the rooms.

Showing their Chapman spirit and sharing their experience were the parents of returning students, who staffed a table where they gave away maps, parent information, pastries and answered questions about everything from local banks to movie theaters.

Susan Tonnesen came down from Los Altos to pitch in at the parent table, and as the mother of a junior son she understands well what new parents face on move-in day.

“The most common question is just, ‘What are we supposed to be doing?’” Tonnesen said.

But everyone seemed to find their way. Especially the students. As her mother unfurled sheets, freshman Jennifer Seo from La Canada-Flintridge hoisted her skateboard from her cart and was already looking forward to the start of classes next week.

“The classes are just so interesting,’’ said Seo, who plans to major in art. “I think I’ll do pretty well.”

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