As nearly 1,230 students from all over the country and the far corners of the world arrived on campus Thursday to settle in for their first year at Lehigh, they were greeted by hundreds of Lehigh volunteers.
Staff, faculty, administrators, fraternity and sorority members, and members of other student groups joined with Residence Life staffers to help arriving students move in and cut through administrative red tape.
One of the volunteers, Gene Lucadamo, industrial liaison officer with Lehigh’s Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, said Lehigh’s annual move-in tradition sure beats the way things were when he went off to college.
“When I went to college,” he says, “we didn’t have this. We lugged everything up the stairs ourselves. This is a great help and it’s a great opportunity for the students to see how the university family supports them in the next four years.”
The arriving students and their families greatly appreciated the helping hands.
“Move-in was a lot easier than I thought it would be,” said Jacqueline Sigel of Durham, Conn. “The volunteers were very helpful. All my stuff was brought up and waiting here for me.”
Her mother, Cheryl, added: “It went very smoothly—there were more than enough helpers to help us bring everything up to the room.”
The volunteers said they get as much out of the day as the students they help.
“Move-in is such a positive experience for me,” said Kathy Miller, who works in the controller’s office. “I don’t often get to interact with students face-to-face. This is such a nice welcoming experience for parents and new students. It’s nice to be a part of that.”
Derek Longo, a sophomore mechanical engineering student and member of Delta Phi fraternity, was motivated to volunteer because of his own move-in experience.
“I had a lot of help at move-in when I was a freshman, so I decided to give back,” Longo said. “Community service is a large part of the fraternity life at Lehigh and it was a part of that commitment that led us to help out here today.”
The heavy lifting behind them, parents and students were able to avail themselves of a variety of activities throughout the day, including walking tours of campus, orientation sessions for parents, and a picnic lunch that was served in the dappled sunlight on the University Center front lawn
”Experiment and explore”
Later in the afternoon, Gregory Farrington, Lehigh president, officially welcomed the newest members of the university family in an address delivered in Packer Church. Farrington shared his advice for the parents who filled the pews of the chapel and lined the walls, and offered an apology for the inconvenience caused by several ongoing campus improvement projects.
“This summer has been the most intense period of construction in Lehigh’s history,” he said. “For a time, I think that we had every backhoe in the Lehigh Valley on our campus, and that every one of them was backing up at the same time.”
Emphasizing the theme of personal responsibility, Farrington assured parents that Lehigh makes a serious commitment to help their sons and daughters evolve into successful, productive adults.
“But I will tell them they must also learn to take responsibility for themselves, and to be responsible for those around them,” he said. “I will tell them to experiment and to explore—to reach out academically to topics and issues that are new. To be open and welcoming to their fellow students. To learn from the diversity of their friends. To develop minds open to new ideas, but based in sound values. To make wise choices. To understand that they must make choices.”
Farrington encouraged parents to begin their journey home “confident that Lehigh works.”
“Second, stay in touch—your kid needs you. We
need you as partners. Third, let your son or daughter bloom. Remember, their dreams may be different than yours. Fourth—and this is the hard part—let them go. Your children are here to learn how to handle responsibility. Don’t fight their battles for them.
“And finally,” he added, “send cookies. Care packages from home do wonders for the spirit of first-year students. So, in the words of college students everywhere, stay cool. Things will work out.”
For information and resources for new students, visit Lehigh's First-Year Survival Guide.