Eastern Oregon University warmly welcomes new students to campus

Sep. 26—LA GRANDE — The hustle and bustle of campus life has returned to Eastern Oregon University with the arrival of new students on Wednesday, Sept. 21, followed by a full Week of Welcome to ease people into college living.

Around 115 new students arrived on campus for move-in day, according to Eastern's Residence Life Housing Director Jeremy Jones. There also were about 100 new students who moved in early for football season or the summer bridge program.

"We really felt like it went well," Jones said.

The flow of move-in day was designed to be as stress-free as possible for arriving students and families, said Jones. The residence life staff had specific time slots for move in and worked to optimize the flow of traffic. This helped speed up and streamline the whole check-in process.

"We got great feedback from students and families," Jones said.

Someone from the university was with each family every step of the way. As people pulled up to campus in cars and trucks — packed tight with everything needed for the school year — volunteers directed them to parking spots closest to the dorms they were moving into. Everyone then flowed into the quad between North and Daugherty halls where staff and students checked in the new students. Members of Eastern's football team then stepped in — helping families unload and carrying everything inside.

Student staff from residence life got to relax between check-ins — listening to music, playing cornhole and hanging out, said Jones.

"Honestly it seemed like it went so well that there were times I felt like I was just twiddling my thumbs," Jones joked.

The past few years' move-in day felt substantially different due to the pandemic, according to Jones. In comparison to last fall new student arrivals were higher this year.

There is a little bit of extra space in the freshman residence halls, but Jones feels that actually works out for the best. He anticipates seeing more issues around social anxiety but said he is "happy with where we landed."

A week of welcoming activities

Every fall, EOU organizes a Week of Welcome to help new students transition into campus living. The week is packed full of fun events designed to help students make friends and get more comfortable on campus, said Eastern's Director of Student Success and Transition Kathryn Shorts.

Students get fully outfitted with team gear and then compete in a number of activities — human foosball matches, an obstacle course set up by the Outdoor Adventure Program, a cornhole tournament and more.

While the transition to college can be stressful, the Week of Welcome is important as it encourages new students to go beyond their comfort zones in preparation for the challenges ahead.

Shorts noted that some students need a bit of a push to embrace the activities of welcome week: "I feel like I'm pushing students to their social limits."

Isabella Crowley is a reporter for The Observer. Contact her at {span}541-624-6014 or{/span} icrowley@lagrandeobserver.com.