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Families, Volunteers Help Lander Students Make Big Move into College

A streamlined process to distribute residence hall keys and keep cars moving has made Lander’s Move-In days more efficient for students and their families. Photo by Laura Wood

“We brought everything but the kitchen sink. And that’s only because one was here already.”

That was the assessment of Virginia Boyd, grandmother of Gavin Deal, as she helped the incoming freshman move into his residence hall at Lander University.

Lander’s Move-In days were more orderly than one might expect because University and community volunteers, including Greenwood Mayor Brandon Smith, assisted in hauling students’ suitcases and essentials into residence halls.

The Move-In experience stretches across five days to give parents and volunteers a more streamlined process,  said Catherine Covar, director of Lander’s Housing and Residence Life.

“I’m always amazed by our staff and team of volunteers who keep traffic flowing smoothly and help to welcome everyone back. Moving so many students to campus in the extreme heat seems like a daunting task, but many hands make light work, and we have a community unlike any other,” Covar said. “I’ve seen nothing but smiles from everyone on campus, and the spirit of who we are at Lander is showing.”

For many students, moving into a residence hall is a family affair.

Deal, of Taylors, brought along his parents and grandparents, who helped unpackage a bright red, retro-style refrigerator. Their shopping began in earnest months ago, Boyd said, and was aided by Lander parents whose posts on social media gave advice and tips.

The day was something of a breeze, Boyd said, as she praised Lander’s staff for guiding them through the transition process. “Everyone has been so helpful.”

From a parent’s perspective, Move-In day came with a few tears for Deal’s mother, Kim, as she unpacked her son’s belongings. “I’m excited for him, of course,” she said. “But it’s a bit sad for me. It’s a little hard to let go.”

Deal is looking forward to the start of classes for his business major. He chose Lander after being accepted by more than 12 other colleges and universities, including several out-of-state institutions, because Lander was affordable, and “the business program is renowned. The people I talked to made the difference in going here.”

Genesis Moorer, a freshman from Lexington, was assisted by her parents, brother, grandmother and aunt. She was attracted to Lander because of the nursing program. “Lander is a great place to study nursing.”

A visit to Lander’s campus in January confirmed that she made the right choice. “I knew I would have a more personal experience here. There would be more one-on-one interaction with faculty.”

Moorer will be following in the career footsteps of her aunt, Denika Moorer, a dialysis nurse in Orangeburg, who said, “I’m definitely proud of Genesis. We will have another nurse in the family. I had to come and help today.”

As a mother who is seeing her third child go to college, Deidre Moorer said the day was filled with joy. “I feel really happy about today. My daughter is going to begin her new journey and the start of a career that she wants for her future.”

The opportunity to play softball for Lander’s successful women’s softball team brought Reagan Hill, of Canton, Georgia, to Lander. She also chose Lander because she wants to study nursing. “Many colleges won’t allow you to play ball and major in nursing. The time devoted to the sport and the demands of the major are difficult,” she said. “But Lander will work with nursing students and their schedules.”

The outfield player has been playing softball since age 10. “I wanted to continue my sport,” she said.

Across the hall, Michaela Harrison, another freshman softball player for Lander, was moving in with the assistance of her younger brother, Grady, age 3, and her mother, Katrina Harrison, a Lander alumna.

“I committed to Lander in the 10th grade,” said Michaela Harrison, a pitcher and outfielder. “It’s close to home, and the University has given me the chance to play softball. I’m really excited about all of the possibilities that I have.”

Brayden Mack, a first-year residence hall adviser at Centennial Hall, said he was excited, if a bit nervous, about the year ahead of him as he works with students and helps them navigate college life. But as he watched students and parents moving luggage, boxes and furniture, Mack smiled.

“They can bring whatever they want. They just have to take it home when they leave,” he said.