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Incoming! It's move-in week at University of Michigan. Here's how they do it.

Thousands of students are moving to Ann Arbor this week

Grace Verhoog (top left), Drake George (bottom left) and fellow MLead volunteers outside Baits II (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
Grace Verhoog (top left), Drake George (bottom left) and fellow MLead volunteers outside Baits II (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – Move-in day kicked off Wednesday morning at University of Michigan, and with almost 10,000 students moving into dorms in less than 72 hours, it takes a lot of logistical planning to make sure it goes smoothly.

We visited freshman dormitories Baits II and Bursley Hall on North Campus Wednesday morning as things started to get busy.

Outside each dorm are MLead volunteers with yellow T-shirts. They are freshmen who undergo leadership training before helping families move other students in. 

Student volunteers await freshman and their parents at Bursley Hall on Aug. 29, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
Student volunteers await freshman and their parents at Bursley Hall on Aug. 29, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)


They say the biggest perk is getting to move in early.

"It's a really cool opportunity, especially as a freshman," said Drake George, a first-year student from Texas who moved into Baits II this week. "We have about two and a half days where we go through leadership seminars, we learn about bystander intervention, we learn about leadership qualities, we get to have a chance to explore campus and get really well acquainted with it."

Freshman Grace Verhoog, from Chicago, said she's enjoyed getting a head start meeting people and taking on a leadership role. 

"All the people here have been so nice and so welcoming and it’s been so great to finally get to meet all these people, to get to come here a few days early, to get this opportunity for leadership training and help everyone else move in.

"It's setting you up to be a leader for everyone for the whole year because you’re the first people that anyone sees when they move in. You're helping people move in and you’re the first people that they will recognize later on when you’re walking on campus. You’re someone they can say hi to."

In total, there are 520 freshman volunteers in the MLead program this year.

Sophomore team leaders Collin Payne and Alex Mulka-Kamyszek outside Baits II on Aug. 29, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
Sophomore team leaders Collin Payne and Alex Mulka-Kamyszek outside Baits II on Aug. 29, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Alex Mulka-Kamyszek, a team leader at Baits II and sophomore from Rogers City, Michigan, said the program not only benefits incoming freshmen, but the university as well.

"It gives freshmen a good opportunity to learn different leadership roles right away," he said. "I was in their position last year. For one, it just helps the move in process to go much more smoothly, especially for larger dorms that have 50 kids moving in every hour. Our leader, Eric, described it as moving a small city into another city. I think that’s a really good analogy."

Team leader Collin Payne, a sophomore from Hartland, Michigan, added that the experience provides a good social base as well.

"This program is kind of how everyone makes their friends for the year," he explained. "It’s your first community. They (MLead volunteers) get a head start of knowing how the dorm works, how the campus works and they can help everyone throughout the year."

While Baits II had a slower morning, Bursley Hall was bustling with activity.

Freshman dorm Bursley Hall on Aug. 29, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
Freshman dorm Bursley Hall on Aug. 29, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Declan Lugin, supervisor and part of U-M's Division of Public Safety and Security explained how the process works.

"Students get online, they select a time slot and then they arrive," he said. "We get about 95% compliance, so everyone you see here selected this time slot at Bursley Hall. You see people from Virginia, from Illinois. They all show up at the right time. Then our wonderful student volunteers are all over it, move them in, then we park them in long term parking and then the next wave of people come half an hour later."

Volunteers assist parents and incoming freshman at Bursley Hall on Aug. 29, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
Volunteers assist parents and incoming freshman at Bursley Hall on Aug. 29, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
MLead volunteers help push blue bins at Bursley Hall on Aug. 29, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
MLead volunteers help push blue bins at Bursley Hall on Aug. 29, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

With so many students and parents arriving to campus, efficiency is key.

Robin Wishnie flew in from New Jersey Tuesday with her son, an incoming freshman. He's her third and last child to go off to college, so she's gained a lot of experience with move-in day.

"The move in process is not so hard when you have done it three times. I am a pro!" she said.

Her advice for parents doing it the first time around? "Make lists, order in advance, and be willing to change your mind and your plan on the fly," she said. "You have to be flexible."

U-M mom Robin Wishnie outside Bursley Hall on North Campus (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
U-M mom Robin Wishnie outside Bursley Hall on North Campus (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

For Maria Miller who drove in from Armada, Michigan to move her son into Bursley Hall, emotions were running high. He's her first child to go off to college.

"(It’s) a lot of emotions," she said. "Happy, sad. A lot of mixed feelings. I cried this morning at breakfast, and I’ll probably cry again!"

Students will be moving in through Friday evening. 

For information on road closures and parking restrictions during move-in days, click here.

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