Class of 2016 arrives for start of fall semester
Move-in began early Friday morning as Elon University welcomed more than 1,400 freshmen and transfer students for the 2012 fall semester.
The sun still brushed the horizon Friday morning as cars with license plates from around the United States packed the roads into campus, many of them sporting rooftop luggage carriers and packed so tightly the only view for passengers was out the front windshield.
Once they found parking, incoming freshmen and their parents would quickly unload, stacking Rubbermaid tubs bursting with clothes, pillows, lamps, televisions, boxes of pre-packaged snacks, and plenty of photos and memories of home.
Then the fun started. With help from Orientation Leaders, resident assistants, staff and administrators, all pitching in to register arrivals and carry luggage to rooms, more than 1,400 incoming freshmen and transfer students moved into the place they’ll call home until mid May.
Based on preliminary enrollment data to be finalized within weeks, the Class of 2016 represents 42 states, with North Carolina leading the way at 16 percent of the class, followed by Massachusetts and New Jersey at 9 percent, and Maryland and Virginia at 7 percent.
First-generation students were also a strong component of the class (9 percent) as were students of diverse ethnic backgrounds (14 percent).
Business, communications, biology, education, psychology, journalism, exercise science, English, international studies and political science were the top 10 intended majors in the class.
Their reasons for choosing Elon University varied.
“I love the close-knit community and the traditions, the acorn at Convocation and the oak sapling at Commencement,” said Sarah Baydush, a native of Potomac, Md., who wants to study graphic design and perhaps join an a cappella group. “It shows they really care about you. You’re not just a person. You are a part of the school.”
Katherine Armstrong chose Elon because of its reputation for engaged learning. With an interest in computer science and engineering, Armstrong, who flew to North Carolina from her home in San Francisco, wanted the feel of a small school with a student body large enough to always be meeting new people.
And like Baydush, who lives on the same floor in Carolina, Armstrong said she’ll explore the possibility of joining an a cappella group. “I compose music, too,” she added. “If I can get involved with that, it would be nice.”
Brandon Kacer, a freshman from Miami now on the Phoenix baseball team, said he was drawn to the university because of the team’s success on the diamond. Kacer is leaning toward a major in accounting.
“I really like math, and it’s what a lot of people in my family have done,” he said. “I’m excited to meet all the freshmen coming in and to get started with practices and working out.”
It wasn’t just students who said they were impressed with Elon’s engaged learning environment. Parents did, too. As they waited near a registration table in the Danieley residential neighborhood, Ron and Lisa Sinicki of Peaks Island, Maine, recalled their visit to Elon with their daughter, Lindsey, and seeing her appreciate a learning environment where professors know student names.
“”It was our first choice after we visited, but we didn’t tell her that. We just told her it was in our top three and let her narrow it down,” Ron Sinicki said. “Plus, I think Lindsey had a vision of what a college should look like, and this was it.”
Joe and Annie Goode of Waterford, Va., paused while helping their daughter, Cara, move into Staley in the Colonnades residential complex. Elon first came to their attention after Joe Goode had hired an Elon alumnus in the mid 1990s to staff a political campaign.
The alum was of such good character and work ethic – plus, his praises for the school resonated with the Goodes – that the family added Elon to the list of schools to visit while in North Carolina. “We’d come down to do the Davidson/UNC/Duke tours, and none of them (resonated) for her,” Joe Goode said.
“For me, it’s the engaged learning format,” Annie Goode said of her daughter’s choice in schools. “That’s something that’s incredibly valuable.”
Orientation activities continue this weekend with New Student Convocation on Saturday morning, picnics, Elon 101 meetings and various other activities for both freshmen and their families.