Students begin move in for the Fall 2021 semester

Move-in for new and returning students began Monday, Aug. 16. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami
By Ashley A. Williams

Move-in for new and returning students began Monday, Aug. 16. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

Students begin move in for the Fall 2021 semester

By Ashley A. Williams
This week, thousands of new and returning students will move into their home away from home as they occupy residence halls on the Coral Gables Campus.

As early as 8 a.m. on Monday morning, students began to file in from all over the globe to begin their new journey at the University of Miami. Over the course of the week, thousands of students will move into their school-year residence on the Coral Gables Campus.

Hosted in collaboration by the Division of Student Affairs and many partners across campus, the annual move-in week for new, transfer, and returning students is strategically planned for a safe and convenient experience for students and families. For first-year students living on campus, the University offers the stress-free Cruise Ship Move-Inconcierge benefit provided by University and Student Servicesa national company that brings students’ belongings from their car to their room.

As the University continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemicstudents were assigned move-in days and times in an effort to allow for physical distancing within the centralized check-in room and residential colleges.

On Monday morning, University President Julio Frenk greeted students and their families inside the Watsco Center Fieldhouse as they checked in for ’Cane Kickoff orientation, a mandatory transition program for all incoming students­­­, and received their brand-new identification cards. Patricia A. Whitely, senior vice president for student affairs, joined Frenk at the fieldhouse and later, the pair visited the University residence halls to welcome students as they moved in.

“We’re just so incredibly happy to be safely back on campus and in person,” said Whitely. “This year will be a great year. I look forward to meeting all of our incoming students this semester.”

Lexi Pereira and her father, Paul, drove from Toms River, New Jersey—more than 18 hours away—to arrive on campus bright and early for the first-year student’s fresh start.

“I’m more nervous than excited right now, but I think it will level out,” said Pereira, an environmental engineering major.

Asia Alamarales, a biology major from Orlando, Florida, decided to attend the University because of its “amazing premed program.” 

“I’m most looking forward to being a part of the campus culture, learning what UM is all about, and diving into my classes,” she said. “I am very excited to have this move-in experience and just getting to know more people.”

Zach Jones, a first-year student from Houston, Texas, arrived at the Hecht Residential College ahead of his new roommate. At the time, Jones had only spoken to his roommate virtually and had not yet met him in person.

“I’m really excited to be here,” said Jones, a marketing major. “Miami is so pretty, and I am really looking to explore new things and join student organizations.” 

His mom, Tracy Carmen-Jones, offered a piece of advice to her son and others who are entering this new chapter of their lives: “Be on your own side, try new experiences, and know that you are enough,” she declared. 

Though the majority of students who were checking in on Monday were eager first-year or transfer students, Liliana Bravo, a senior and third-time resident assistant, was soaking in the moment as well. As she waited at the entrance of Stanford Residential College, she couldn’t help but beam with joy when she noticed Sebastian, the school’s mascot, coming to greet her.

“It’s my last year, so its super meaningful to see Sebastian pop up. And in a way, it is kind of a surreal moment for me,” said Bravo, a Chicago native majoring in human and social development. “It’s making me realize that this really is my last year as an undergraduate student at the U. Last year was so different. So, seeing him made me feel like maybe there is going to be some type of normalcy to come.”

Kristophe Smith-Walker, a senior studying economics and a second-time resident assistant at Hecht Residential College, is ready to start the semester off on a high note with the students on his floor.

“I’m most looking forward to being on the back-end of COVID, and I’m really looking to give the guys on my floor that college experience. I want them to have fun in a way that is still respectable to everyone’s health and safety,” he said.