First-year students pack U housing

A record 82 percent of first-year students are living in University residence halls.

Ching Lo

Parents, students, volunteers and organizers used one familiar word when describing move-in to University residence halls Saturday: smooth.

When morning came, trucks, trailers and sport utility vehicles were filled with mini-refrigerators, TVs, stereos, computers and all the personal knick-knacks that keep a college student going all year long.

According to Housing and Residential Life, more than 82 percent of first-year students are living in University residence halls this year. These 4,400 first-year students set a new record.

In 1992, 59 percent of first-year students lived on campus. Last fall, almost 78 percent chose to live in University residence halls.

Kristina Fielder, a first-year student from Eau Claire, Wis., filled her new room in Frontier Hall. For her, move-in day had its challenges but was also fun.

While Kristina Fielder moved, her mother, Monika Fielder, guarded her daughter’s goods outside the residence hall.

“It’s just a lot of grunge work,” said Monika Fielder, who was moving in the last of her three children.

“It’ll be a little difficult (saying goodbye) but I know she’s ready,” Monika Fielder said. “She’s excited and nervous.”

A few feet down the block, the Wallerus family from Bloomington, Minn., was taking a water break after the move for their son, Gary Wallerus.

“It was easy to move in,” Gary Wallerus said.

His father, Dan Wallerus, complimented how well move-in day went. “As bad as it looks here, it was actually very organized,” he said. “There were lots of help.”

University junior Krystle Palmer helped. As a volunteer move-in crew member, she carried items, answered questions and guarded belongings on the curb.

“It’s going smoothly here,” she said.

Frontier Hall Director Joe Hazelton said there was a new check-in process this year, which alleviated congestion in the dorms when students came to check in.

Hazelton said volunteers were significant in making the day go smoothly.

After getting settled in her new room, which she will share with three roommates, Rachel Hiscock, of Brooklyn Park, Minn., stood outside for some air. It only took her two hours to unload and unpack, she said.

Though she lived only minutes from the Twin Cities area, she said she looked forward to living on campus.

“I wanted to be connected to campus life and people,” Hiscock said. “That’s why I am living on campus.”

Plus, she said, “No commute!”

The high percentage of students living in residence halls has forced the University to rent housing space at the Days Inn on University Avenue. Approximately 100 students will temporarily be living there for two weeks or two months.

With fewer students moving to the hotel, the move-in rush at the Days Inn was not as busy as at the residence halls, and some students said they were OK living there for a short time.

Kristine Dahl is one temporary Days Inn resident.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” she said. “They’ll provide me with a moving crew the next time I move.”

In the Days Inn lobby, volunteers described the day as “smooth as butter,” even with the overflow of students.