#Elon27: Class of 2027 arrives for Move-in Day ready to build meaningful relationships

The Elon University community welcomed nearly 1,800 new students who are members of the Class of 2027 and transfer students with open arms as these newest Elon students moved into their new homes.

Jessica Morello admits she wasn’t initially convinced about her daughter, Kelly, coming to Elon. Kelly, however, was adamant about coming to Elon and those feelings were reinforced by two of her best friends (Sawyer Kickham ’25 and Mia Glickman ’26) who are current Elon students.

Move-In Day on the campus of Elon University, August 18, 2023.

On their first campus tour, which was dampened by rain and clouds, it only took an hour for Jessica to about-face on her opinion of Elon. “I just couldn’t believe it, how much I loved this place,” Jessica said.

Several months later, on a Move-in Day that was much more scenic than the day of their tour, that admiration for Elon has only deepened and Kelly has no doubts that she picked the right place. She was among the nearly 1,800 new Elon students from 43 states and 15 countries who arrived for Move-In Day to begin their careers at Elon, with hundreds of current students and Elon employees chipping in to help them get settled.

“I didn’t even have to look at other schools,” Kelly said. She also celebrated her birthday on Move-in Day and had the Fire of the Carolinas marching band play “Happy Birthday” for her. “I forgot about my own birthday because it’s Move-in Day, but that was pretty special.”

The Class of 2027 is one of the most diverse in Elon’s history, with 20% identifying as ALANAM (African American, Latino/Hispanic, Asian Pacific Islander, Native American, Alaska Native and multiracial). Ten percent of the class are first-generation students, 12% identify as LGBTQIA+ and 7% are international students.

Sasha Leonardi ’27 is among the new international students who will make Elon their home for the next four years. Coming from France, Leonardi had a certain perception of Elon, and so far, it has lived up to that.

Move-In Day on the campus of Elon University, August 18, 2023.

“I want to live the American dream and it’s come true. It’s very close to my imagination. I’m very lucky to be here,” she said.

Hundreds of Move-in volunteers welcomed families with chants and cheers at the Schar Center entrance where students checked in and received information on how to get to their housing assignments and other important items — room keys, parking passes, Phoenix cards, schedules and plenty of educational materials.

The Fire of the Carolinas marching band helped to set the tone for the high-spirited day as they paraded through campus playing Elon’s fight song and other rousing compositions. The university’s student-run radio station, WSOE, was stationed in each residential neighborhood to keep the energy high throughout the day. Members of Elon Campus Safety & Police helped manage the flow through main thoroughfares by directing vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Refreshment stations all over campus helped all of those who assisted in Move-in stay energized throughout the day.

Move-In Day on the campus of Elon University, August 18, 2023.

Over 200 faculty and staff volunteers and 400 student leaders helped families find their move-in destinations, unload vehicles, pushcarts to their dorm assignments and set up their new homes on the sunny Friday. Campus Safety & Police was stationed throughout campus to help ensure smooth traffic flow and to direct families toward parking options.

Isabella Craig ’24 was one of the many volunteers helping with move-in efforts as a team lead for the student Orientation Leaders.

Craig said that compared to her Move-in Day experience four years ago, which was impacted heavily by the pandemic, this year was much more stable. Having been through the emotional rollercoaster of move-in and now on the cusp of wrapping up her time at Elon, Craig said she would tell the incoming students to cherish every moment of this day.

Move-In Day on the campus of Elon University, August 18, 2023.

“It’s OK to take your ‘cool cap’ off and just indulge in the experience and give it your all,” Craig said.

Baker Carroll ’27 heard about Elon after several of her high school classmates in Chatham, New Jersey, decided to be a part of the Phoenix community.

Getting second-hand reports of how great of a time those ahead of her were having at Elon made Carroll want to see if the school lived up to the hype. So once her time to go to college came, she scheduled a tour, and like many before her, fell in love with campus as soon as she arrived.

The hospitable nature of Elon is something that immediately stuck out for Carroll. But as her time at Elon is officially underway, it is the meaningful relationships with classmates and faculty that she is most excited to cultivate.

“Keeping in touch with faculty and finding a professor I can trust and go to with things outside of class has always been helpful and that’s what I really liked about Elon,” Carroll said.

Ben Walsh ’27 from Dallas, Texas, is also excited to begin working on building a network of trusted peers and mentors. Walsh went to a large public high school in Texas before transferring to a smaller boarding school and came to prefer the more intimate nature of the latter.

Move-In Day on the campus of Elon University, August 18, 2023.

“Each teacher knew my name, knew my story and knew me as an individual. Not only would they recognize me missing from class but recognize my individual struggles. That is what Elon focuses on having — that one-on-one connection,” Walsh said.

A Farmington, North Carolina native, Savion Taylor ’27 didn’t have to travel too far for Move-in Day. Nor is he a stranger to college-level classes having been a dual-enrollment student in high school.

Looking to major in music production, Taylor was drawn to Elon for its state-of-the-art recording studios and its laid-back environment. But mostly, he’s excited to fully immerse himself in the college environment and make the most of that experience.

“I want to network as much as I can and make as many lifelong friends as I can,” Taylor said.

Santosh Gopalan ’27 is an education major and incoming Leadership Fellow and said the university’s student-faculty ratio, beautiful campus and overall positive attitude made his choice of Elon a no-brainer. Coming to a campus that emphasizes relationship-building was another significant factor for him in selecting Elon.

“It gives you another sense of security. You have those trusted individuals … and you feel more comfortable talking to them,” Gopalan said. “This is my home for the next four years and I feel comfortable here.”

Move-In Day on the campus of Elon University, August 18, 2023.

Move-in Day is the start of New Student Orientation, and the next several days will be filled with a range of activities and social events designed to help the Class of 2027 smoothly transition into Elon. Saturday, Aug. 19, incoming students will gather Under the Oaks for New Student Convocation as President Connie Ledoux Book and other campus leaders formally welcome them as they embark on their Elon journeys.