Move-In Day Connects the Past with the Present

Dave Kraft moved from his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to McDowell Hall to begin his freshman year at Kent State University in 1987.

On Thursday, he celebrated the 30th anniversary of his move, by moving his daughter, Mackenzie Kraft, from their home in Pittsburgh into her room in Fletcher Hall to begin her freshman year.

“We didn’t have refrigerators; we didn’t have microwaves,” Kraft said, noting the changes to the residence hall rooms from 30 years ago.

Kraft, who graduated with a degree in aerospace management in 1991, said his daughter visited Kent State because he was an alumnus and she fell in love with the campus.

Unlike her dad though, who works as a pilot for FedEx, Mackenzie will be studying early childhood education.

A steady stream of cars, van and SUVs poured into campus Thursday for freshman move-in day, which marks the beginning of Kent State’s Welcome Weekend, an orientation program that runs through Sunday.

Move-in began at 8 a.m. and continued throughout the day.

Among the volunteer “Movers and Groovers” on hand to help with move-in on Thursday morning was University President Beverly Warren.

Warren and university cabinet members were welcoming students and parents at Eastway Center beginning at 9 a.m.

John Hummell, hall director for Fletcher and Manchester residence halls, said the move-in process was progressing swiftly, with nearly 60 percent of the students assigned to the two halls moved in by noon.

Hummell said Warren’s presence outside of Eastway Center generated quite a bit of excitement early in the day.

Many of the students assigned to live in Fletcher and Manchester Halls are enrolled in Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services and the college’s dean, James Hannon, also had stopped by to visit with students.

Hummell, who was overseeing his sixth move-in, said the concerns of students and parents do not change much over time, including the challenge of students being on their own for the first time and having to deal with a new roommate and learn to share a small space.

More than 6,000 students will be moving in to the university’s 25 residence halls this weekend. The university anticipates an incoming class similar in size to 2016, when a record 4,335 freshman enrolled at Kent State as part of 10 straight years of enrollment growth on the Kent Campus.

While Kent State draws many students from northeast Ohio, the university’s programs attract students from throughout the United States and the world.

The Karpan family took two days to make the 12-hour drive from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to deliver daughter Alanna, an incoming fashion merchandising major, to her room in Wright Hall.

Karpan said she visited schools in Colorado and California, as well as her home state, before selecting Kent State’s Fashion School.

“It’s very well-known,” Karpan said. After visiting campus, Karpan said she discovered that “the people also are very nice.”

Whether the drive was 12 hours or less than one, the job of unpacking the car and setting up a residence hall room is a big task.

The wait for the elevator inside Clark Hall was long, but Canfield resident Mark Eckert did not mind.

He and his wife, Sue, were moving their daughter, Kelsey, into a room on the fourth floor of Clark Hall.

With a team of “Movers and Groovers” to help them carry Kelsey’s gear and the aid of a rolling cart, just one trip was required to move in the freshman biology major.

“They’re wonderful,” Eckert said of the helpers – university students, faculty and staff who volunteer to help with the move-in process. “Especially for a dad with double knee replacements.”

Brian Eichler, of Mentor, Ohio, had help from his grandfather, Kevin Eichler, who used a rolling cart to remove cardboard boxes from Brian’s room.

“It was from my computer, my bedding, both monitors,” the freshman architecture major said, explaining the large stack of empty boxes his grandfather was rolling away.

“Grandpa’s the one with the truck,” he said, explaining how his grandfather got drafted for move-in duty.

“We brought two cars,” explained Anthony Boothe, of Massillon, who was moving in his step-daughter, Molly Gresh into Allyn Hall.

“It only took two trips. That’s not too bad,” Boothe said. “The carts make it easy.”

Bernard Gray of Cleveland, stood behind a cart filled with bedding and other items his daughter, Aniyah Gray, was moving into her second-floor room in Wright Hall. He estimated the move might only take one more trip.

“I can’t complain,” said Aniyah’s mother Laveda Dubois of Solon.         

POSTED: Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 3:50pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 2:07pm
Lisa Abraham