University welcomes new and returning students

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UT President William Powers Jr. personally greeted students moving into the Almetris Duren Residence Hall as part of one of the largest incoming freshman classes the 40 Acres has ever seen.

Powers was on hand to welcome incoming freshmen and returning students to campus residence halls as part of Mooov-In, an event where a coalition of more than 300 students, staff and faculty volunteers helped students move into campus housing.

“Coming to college and coming to a great public university like the University of Texas at Austin is a transformative moment for our students,” Powers said. “Three of my children have gone here, and I see it through their eyes that it’s an exciting place.”

The University expected 5,158 freshmen and almost 7,500 total students to move in over the weekend, according to the Division of Housing and Food Service.

After months of preparation, the University welcomed what could be its largest freshman class in history. The University will not officially know if this is the largest class until enrollment is counted after the twelth class day.

Powers said the University felt growing pains because of the large class but began preparations for the incoming students in April by creating additional course sections and First-Year Interest Groups, or programs that place freshmen into small groups that support academic performance and interests.

“I don’t think we want to do this every year or have four years like this,” he said. “A year going through this, we will plan ahead for their sophomore and junior years.”

Gage Paine, vice president for student affairs, said every student who submitted a housing application by May 1 was assigned to a residence hall.

Despite the increase in incoming freshmen, 70 percent of beds will go to freshmen as they do every year, said Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly.

“We have prepared for some time to ensure that we are providing the best student support so the larger class doesn’t feel the increased number of students,” she said.

Business freshman Melanie Diaz said she made sure to apply for housing the day the application was released to ensure she got her first choice for housing in Kinsolving Residence Hall.

Some second-year students returning to live on campus might have felt the effects of accommodating a larger incoming class. Education sophomore Jazmine Castanon said her housing assignment was switched multiple times before she got her final assignment.

Castanon said she was unaware of the size of the incoming class.

Powers said the University’s faculty and staff are excited to welcome the newest members of the Longhorn family.

“This for us, is what we do,” Powers said. “We have a very large class coming in, but we are ready for them.”