KOKOMO, Ind. — As the sounds of Bruno Mars and aroma of grilled hamburgers filled the air – trucks, vans, and cars arrived loaded down with students’ belongings for the new academic year.
Move in day has been a rite of passage for college students for generations, but is a newer tradition at Indiana University Kokomo. The Annex of Kokomo, a privately-owned student apartment complex, hosted welcoming festivities for its residents on Saturday (August 19).
As freshman Abbye Graves and her family began unloading her furniture, they were surprised to have extra helping hands offered by faculty and staff, as well as volunteers from area churches.
The dedication to student success was part of what attracted Graves, from Noblesville, to choose IU Kokomo..
“They offer a lot of things here,” she said. “You can get your computer set up for free at IT, and a lot of schools charge for that. You get unlimited appointments with your advisors.”
In addition to offering volunteer labor, faculty and staff were on hand to answer questions about campus life and classes, and to hand out Cougar swag to the 135 student residents there.
Todd Gambill, vice chancellor for student services and enrollment management, was among the volunteers toting Grave’s boxes to her apartment. It was important to him that the campus community be there to assist as new students arrived.
“We want to demonstrate that we are a welcoming and inclusive community, and we’re happy they are here,” he said, adding he can empathize with the parents, as the father of an incoming freshman.
“This is for the parents as much as it is for the students,” he said. “Move in day is an adjustment for them, too. If we can reassure them on their way home that they’ve left their son or daughter in a supportive, caring environment, it’s easier on them.”
Juniors Alli Voils and Mindy Puckett wandered through the complex, offering their assistance and cold soft drinks to the newest residents. The two have lived at The Annex for three years, and Voils works there as well. Her younger brother, Adam, moved in Saturday to start his freshman year.
“I’m ready to get back into a routine again,” Voils said. “I’m excited to meet everyone, and to start our Bible studies at the Annex again.”
Brenno Pecora, who moved to Carmel from Brazil during high school, also offered his help, as a way to meet fellow new students.
“I’m ready to meet new people, and expand my knowledge of business,” he said, adding that he plans to study marketing in the School of Business.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.