UT campus fills again during Mooov-In starting Longhorn Welcome

Gracie Awalt

Coming from 44 states, 35 countries and six continents, an estimated 7,400 students are living on campus this year.

University Housing and Dining helped students move into 14 residence halls from Aug. 24–25 during Mooov-In, a 25-year-old tradition that kicks off Longhorn Welcome, a series of free events that introduce new students to campus.

UT President Gregory Fenves, who was greeting students Saturday morning during Mooov-In, said new students should try to meet as many people as they can. 

“One of the great things about being at the University of Texas is that we have people from all different walks of life, backgrounds, different parts of Texas, states and countries,” Fenves said. “Living on campus is an opportunity to build new types of friendships and learn from fellow students.”

In contrast to Hurricane Harvey pouring rain down on Mooov-In last year, this year the sun was shining on students and their families. 

“Last year we had to rush to move people in before the storm hit Austin and there were families from Houston who couldn’t get back so we provided shelter for some of those families,” Fenves said.  “It was a real crisis that we worked ourselves through. It was a tremendous problem with Hurricane Harvey hitting, but this year the weather is much better.” 

Compared to last year, there was an average five percent increase on the housing portion of students’ bills for all residence halls, said Ryan Colvin, assistant director of occupancy management at University Housing and Dining.

Four new Living Learning Communities, which allow freshmen to live with their peers who share similar interests or qualifications, will start this fall. The new LLCs include Joynes Readers & Writers in Carothers, Jefferson Scholars in Moore-Hill, Terry Scholars in Jester West and Transfer Students in Jester East.

University Housing and Dining offered 187 supplemental housing contracts to students this year, compared to 197 last year. Supplemental spaces are rooms converted from a study lounge or floor meeting space, whereas traditional spaces are rooms originally intended for residential living. The majority of these spaces were located in Jester, and recent construction has converted these spaces to normal rooms.

“We do give students a choice once they live in a supplemental room if they wanted to move out or stay and around 70 percent choose to stay,” Colvin said. “Most students end up liking those spaces.”

Fenves said the Mooov-In experience offered by University Housing and Dining is more organized compared to his own experience moving into college. 

“My parents dropped me off in a station wagon with a couple of suitcases and boxes and that was about it,” Fenves said. “It was not nearly as organized, but it was a long time ago. We do it much better here at UT because everybody’s welcoming. It’s very clear with good directions, and we’re very happy with the way Mooov-In works out.”

Undeclared freshman Andrea Cervantes, who moved into Blanton Residence Hall, said she is looking forward to living on campus because she can easily take advantage of campus resources, such as the MindBody Lab at the Counseling and Mental Health Center.  

“I don’t really put myself out there so I’m excited to make new friends and actually talk to people,” Cervantes said.