A Busy Move-In Day welcomes the incoming Class of 2023

First-year student Yanisha White got accepted by 12 colleges and chose Stetson University, arriving early with her parents for Move-In Day on Saturday.

The three pose together outside
New Hatter Yanisha White and her parents arrived early for Move-in Day on Saturday.

White grew up in Orlando but had not heard of Stetson until she started researching the best colleges for business majors.

“Stetson was one of the schools that really spoke the most to me, with it being a private school and being one of the best schools that have the major that I wanted to be in,” said the 18-year-old, who graduated from high school with a 3.9 grade point average.

Her mother, Angela, liked Stetson as soon as she started reading about it.

“We Googled and I looked at the safety, the crime, the graduation rate, the job placement – that was all important to me – and the class size. So, this was one of my first choices,” Angela White said. “She got accepted at 12 colleges and she chose this one.”

About 550 first-year students moved into the residence halls on Saturday, Aug. 17, starting about 7:30 a.m. An army of Stetson athletes, including football players, were waiting outside the residence halls to help arriving students and their parents carry their belongings inside.

Arriving students and their parents found plenty of helping hands on opening day, as Stetson athletes and others volunteered for the heavy lifting.

“I love being out here,” said Jason Winston, a 6-foot-2, 248-pound defensive end, as he lifted a load of items to carry into Hollis Hall. “This is volunteer work.”

President Wendy B. Libby, PhD, said the university expected a little bigger class of incoming students this year.

“It’s going to be a large class, highly qualified and we’re ready for them,” she said, standing in the Rinker Field House as arriving students checked in. “Look, there’s virtually no line here because we did all the work ahead of time.”

University President Wendy B. Libby, PhD, talks to students on Move-in Day.

Libby, who will retire next spring as president, mingled with students and parents on her last Move-In Day, and, when asked, said she was approaching the day like she always has.

“It’s important to have your heart in what you’re doing until somebody else is doing it,” she said. “I can’t promise you that when I’m doing some public speaking over the course of the next few days, I won’t feel wistful about it, but right now I’m just fine.”

“My Dream School”

Outside Hollis Hall, 18-year-old Cassandra Krajnyk of Chicago said she woke up that morning feeling “scared, but I was also excited.”

Student poses with her parents in residence hall room
Cassandra Krajnyk, with her parents, said Stetson was her “dream school.”

Born and raised in Chicago, she said she wanted to attend college in sunny Florida and initially was interested in the big state schools.

“But I started getting mail from here actually and I was like, oh, my gosh, the campus is nice. I was drawn to the campus obviously,” said the psychology major. “But then, when we actually came here and met everybody, so welcoming. … Not only was it beautiful from the outside but on the inside, it’s even better.

“It’s actually been my dream school for a while,” she said.

Her father, Thor, a retired Chicago police officer, said he and his wife liked the safety of Stetson’s campus. But they also were impressed that Stetson faculty and administrators took the time to greet students and parents, and offered to show them around, when the family toured the campus a year ago.

“We went to a number of schools and this is the only one that did that,” said Thor Krajnyk. “That’s what blew me over.”

“At Full Capacity”

Three hours into Move-In Day and a slow stream of students and parents arrived at the Rinker Field House to check in, get parking decals, Stetson T-shirts and swag, and campus information. Afterward, the students began five days of FOCUS Orientation for the incoming Class of 2023.

Students and parents check in at computer stations in the Rinker Field House
A busy Move-In Day welcomed the incoming Class of 2023.

“It’s the smoothest move-in that I’ve ever seen,” said Larry Correll-Hughes, PhD, assistant vice president for Campus Life and Student Success, and executive director of Residential Living & Learning.

“I want to give a huge shout-out to Bonita Dukes (Stetson’s associate vice president of Facilities Management) and the Facilities Management team. … Much of what we do on Move-In Day and student satisfaction is based on the condition of the rooms when students move in, and so the cleaning, the maintenance, getting those buildings ready – they do a tremendous amount of work in a short amount of time.”

Larry Correll-Hughes

The last summer camps and conferences left campus on July 28-29. Stetson athletes and other early arrivals began moving in a few days later. By Saturday’s opening day, more than 500 students were already living on campus, including international students.

Residence halls open to returning students on Sunday, Aug. 18. When classes start on Thursday, Aug. 22, more than 2,000 students will be living on campus.

“We are at full capacity,” Correll-Hughes said.