The VCU residence halls re-opened their doors on Saturday, welcoming the largest incoming freshman class in the university’s history.
Totaling a class size of 4,050 students, the 750 freshman from the Richmond Metro Area were allowed to move in a day early, on Friday. The remaining 3,300 students became acclimated with their new homes on Saturday, shutting down streets surrounding the Rhoads, Brandt and Johnson Hall dorms on Franklin and Laurel streets.
The incoming students are comprised of 51 percent minority students, one-third are first generation college students and 90 percent are from Virginia, according to statistics released by the university on Aug. 13. This year, VCU will be enrolling an estimated total of 31,500 students.
During move in Saturday, there was heavy traffic congestion as parents, students, volunteers, faculty and security moved throughout the area.
About halfway through the day, the fire alarm sounded in Rhoads residence hall, and hundreds of students and parents had to evacuate the building.
Fellow students from VCU’s Ram Camp, as well as students who are part of the Resident Housing Association, helped families with luggage and organization.
There were also volunteers from different student organizations on campus that did their best to make the move-in process as smooth as possible for families and students.
“We had combined people who speak different languages translate for families just to make them feel welcome,” said Nivializ Ramos, a member of VCU’s Latino Student Association. “We’ve met a couple of parents who hardly spoke English and we showed them where everything was.”
In Monroe Park, a DJ was blasting music while students lined up for inflatable slides, games and t-shirt giveaways.
“It’s been lovely,” said Sarah Wootton, a freshman who moved into Johnson Hall on Saturday. “There’s been so many people to assist me as well as offering things to make it fun. It’s just very well managed.”
Wootton said that she didn’t feel like the process was frantic, and she was excited about the upcoming “Welcome Week” events starting Sunday.