From Near and Far, Catawba College Students Move Onto Campus
August 17, 2009
A few students came from far-flung places like South Africa and England, and some arrived from Maryland, Illinois, Delaware, California and Georgia. Others came from places much closer to campus, like Mt. Airy and Rockwell, N.C. However, they all came with one goal in mind — to get settled into their Catawba College residence hall before the first day of classes on August 20th.
Leah Constan-Tatos of Johannesburg, South Africa, accompanied on move-in day by her cousin Rod Martin of Boston, Mass., will be living in Salisbury-Rowan Residence Hall this year. She is a student-athlete, at Catawba on both swimming and academic scholarships. The most important item she packed, she said, is her laptop with a video camera and Skype installed on it. Thanks to Skype, a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet and to video conference, Leah can stay in touch with her parents and actually see what is going on back home. "It will be like living at home from across the world," she joked.
First-year student Beth Aldrich of Frederick, Md., spent this week practicing with Skype on her laptop. From her residence hall on campus, it will allow her to keep in touch with friends from back home who have all scattered in different collegiate directions. Beth learned about Catawba from another Catawba first-year student from Frederick, Md., Katie Johnson. Beth and Katie attended Middletown High School together.
Katie, assisted by her mom and sister, also spent the morning moving into Salisbury-Rowan Residence Hall. "I was looking for a nice, small, liberal arts school that offered great theatre," she remembered. Thanks to another word-of-mouth referral from Catawba College alumna Kathy Stockman Nichols '80, who also lives in Frederick Md., Katie wound up in Salisbury. Ironically, Nichols' daughter, Lainey, just graduated from Catawba in May.
Quaneasia Coleman drove to Salisbury from Duluth, Ga., accompanied by her brother and mother, Hasani and Michelle McKay. She was recruited to Catawba to play basketball. She said that her cell phone is the most important item she packed. Thanks to it, she will be able to keep in touch with family and friends even though she will be living two states away from them.
Casey Devlin of Rockwell, N.C., could have ended up at Appalachian State University, but she decided to come to Catawba so she could be closer to home. A must-bring item she packed was a small stuffed lion that her boyfriend gave her. It is an item, she said, "that I can't go overnight without." Her mom, Holly, reminded her that "all of her shoes" that she packed and brought to campus were also important to her.
Catawba Resident Assistants, sporting black True Life t-shirts (a take-off on the MTV program of the same name) were stationed at various residence halls to provide assistance, directions and advice. Senior R.A., Lindsey Jackson of Dana, N.C., noted that multi-drawer, stackable cubbies were popular with almost every student moving in.
Wearing lavender t-shirts, upper class students recruited as Alphas helped parents and new students carrying belongings into residence hall rooms. For most, help from the Alphas was more than welcomed.
Mother Dottie Aldrich relished both the assistance and the Southern hospitality which she received at Catawba. She explained that both were lacking at the institution another of her daughters attends in Pennsylvania. "There was no help there and you had to ask lots of questions to learn about almost everything," she remembered.
For the various offices represented on campus on move-in day, the focus was on student service and getting a jump start on bolstering retention efforts. There were tables manned by smiling employees answering questions and dispensing snacks and candy as well as information from key areas — everything from telephone and computer services to the health center and public safety.
In a meeting for faculty and staff held August 13 on campus, College Provost, Dr. Rick Stephens, gave word to the mood that was reflected by college employees on move-in day: "The great news is that enrollment numbers look terrific and our job, among our other responsibilities, is to do whatever we can to facilitate the retention of the class that has been produced. Retention is absolutely everybody's responsibility!"
Catawba is welcoming its largest class of first-time freshmen since 2001. Three hundred and eleven first-year students will join the community, pushing the total headcount enrolled in the traditional day program to 967. Seven hundred and twenty seven of the 967 day students will be housed on campus.
"There's a lot of energy already on campus and some of our upper class, returning students haven't even arrived," explained Dan Sullivan, Dean of Students. "We can already tell with the larger number of students living on campus that we're going to have a great year of activity at Catawba."