Photo by Reed Strength

Photo by Reed Strength

On Friday Aug. 22, a large group of Freshman students moved into UM’s eight residence halls and lodge. Clutching hulking bags of folded clothes and keepsakes, the class of 2018 began to take the first steps into their new academic home.

Housing director John Denson said Friday was “very busy” for his office, but that he received positive feedback from students and parents about their move-in experience. He expressed gratitude to UM president John Stewart and the enrollment management staff for bringing such a large Freshman group onto the campus.

Denson says the highlight of his day was “seeing all the student volunteers help move the new freshmen into their rooms.”

“We could not do our move-in process without the help of the UMPD, Physical Plant and faculty & staff,” added Denson.

Lead by a team of polo wearing Orientation Leaders (OL’s), the new Falcons began to explore UM’s campus. They sampled caff food for the first time, heard the various haunted myths around campus and were immersed in ‘Vallo culture. Where some of UM’s campus may regard the caff with an upturned nose, it was a welcome change to new arrival Bethany Hunt. “There’s nothing scarier than high school food, so it’s all good,” she laughed assuredly.

She stood with friend Erin Duncan in Palmer Auditorium after reliable spoken word duo Cometry performed. While Duncan admitted to feeling “tired” and Hunt “overwhelmed,” the two hoped to feel “comfortable” and “accomplished” by the end of their Freshman year.

Honors student Morgan Pennington shared in her peers first year feelings. While feeling confident about an environmental science minor, Pennington was still mentally turning over the possibility of a political science major.

She appreciated the OLs enthusiasm throughout Take Flight Week, but admitted that most of the information shared had already been touched upon during orientation.

When asked about her expectations for her first year of college, Pennington said she’s entering “excited” and hopes to end it “fulfilled.”

Freshman marketing major Russell Alicea says he found orientation “pointless,” as most of the topics discussed were “common sense.” However, he greatly enjoyed the Saturday afternoon movie “The Lady In No. 6,” and appreciated how helpful the OLs were throughout the weekend.

Alicea plans to rush in the coming weeks, and says that so far, Alpha Kappa Lambda has impressed him the most. He hopes to end his first year at UM with a feeling of accomplishment.

After a long Saturday of icebreakers and educational speakers, the freshman were able to unwind with professional cover band New South Players. Playing full band versions of hits like Lil John’s “Turn Down For What?” and Cee Lo Green’s “‘Forget You’”, recruitment ready Greeks mingled and danced with the new students.

On Sunday, Freshman trio Marissa Tom, Ambria Parrish and Destiny Howell stood near the Becoming Statue in the sweltering summer sun waiting for OL’s to tour them around campus to their class buildings.

The girls all had different organizations they wanted to join. Tom had an interest in the Writer’s Club, Parrish in intramural sports and Howell admitted to wanting to be an OL next year. Despite their different interests, they all agreed on a few key things: move-in was quick, orientation was “really fun” and the upcoming year made them equal parts nervous and excited.

 CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article that appears in the current print edition of the Alabamian released Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 incorrectly states that UM’s current Freshman class was the largest Freshman class that UM had seen since 1991.