The parking lot at Wichita State University’s Fairmount Towers was so crowded Sunday afternoon, yellow-vested security officers were guiding traffic.
Sunday was moving in day at the university and parents and siblings were helping incoming freshmen move into WSU’s residence halls.
Many came with microwaves and laptops and cowboy boots. Others came with carpet and shopping bags filled with back-to-school specials.
Joseph McNorton’s family from Topeka stood watch near the sidewalk over a mini-refrigerator, piles of boxes, a TV and bedding.
His sister, Kyla, says she will miss him. His parents, Cathy and Kyle, are excited for him.
McNorton, a Jabara scholarship winner, plans to major in entrepreneurship.
WSU mascot WuShock was on hand to greet the freshmen on campus as was WSU’s president, John Bardo
Steve Larson, WSU’s director of housing and residential life, said the university is expecting 500 first-year students to live on campus this year.
The university in recent years has typically attracted between 14,000 and 15,000 students per semester, but only about 1,100 students live in residence halls.
WSU housing officials recommend that students spend their first year in one of the residence halls — Fairmount, Wheatshocker or Brennan.
“There are some options for them to get out, where they can live with their family or other factors,” said Wade Robinson, vice president for campus life and university relations. “But for me, living in a hall is a tremendous learning opportunity. It’s a chance to build connections and network. I highly recommend it because of the program we do for student development.
Although classes don’t begin until Aug. 20, Larson said he expects at least 70 to 80 percent of the other students who live on campus will move in this week.
That’s why it was so important to give the freshmen time – and ease in moving in. Volunteers from campus sororities, fraternities and athletic groups assisted the students by carrying luggage and boxes up to their dorm rooms.
Bright pinks, lime greens, and blues and sensible grays seem to be the trending colors of bedspreads and carpets.
Susan Davied of Fredonia chose blue and lime green.
“I talked with my roommate and those are the colors we chose.”
Her parents, Tom and Kathy Davied, said they don’t plan on missing their daughter — they come to Wichita almost every weekend.
In recent years, the residence halls have undergone some major renovations including energy conservation measures, an update in heating and cooling facilities, and new carpet and paint.
Two years from now, a new residence hall will open, Robinson said.
“Right now, we are in the development and dialogue of where it will be and how many beds,” Robinson said.
The new hall, Robinson said, will have individual sleeping rooms with shared bathrooms.
“It is what universities are doing on a national level,” he said. “It’s how students are growing up.”