Minivans and SUVs flooded a closed F Street Thursday, as GW’s largest class in history prepared to make the University their home.
The move-in rush was not limited to traditionally freshman residence halls such as the Hall on Virginia Avenue, Thurston, Mitchell and Lafayette halls. Clothes, boxes, TVs and stereos also littered the sidewalk outside Crawford, Madison and Strong halls Thursday, the official move-in day for freshmen.
About half the residents in HOVA also moved into rooms converted over the summer from doubles to triples.
Closing F Street and having one day designated move-in day for freshmen are two changes the Community Living and Learning Center implemented this year to address yearly moving hassles such as long lines and large crowds, Thurston Community Director Tara Woolfson said. She said Community Facilitators also handed out water to thirsty movers in the 80-degree D.C. heat.
More than 600 freshmen moved Thursday into Thurston, GW’s largest residence hall where 1,050 students will live this year.
“I thought move-in went really well,” new Thurston resident Ben Glasgall. “Since then, I’ve just been chilling with my new friends.”
GW got the city’s permission from to close the street from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Woolfson said GW could not close F Street for more than one day.
Some students said having only one day to move in was difficult.
“I moved in all in one day, but I think having two days for move-in would be better,” Thurston resident William Sauer said.
“I thought it was too chaotic, they didn’t give us enough time to make my room a home,” said freshman Rachel Quintner, who attended the fifth Colonial Inauguration.
Each student was allowed 20 minutes to unload their belongings onto the sidewalk and received a voucher to park somewhere else on campus.
“I was really happy with how well the move-in went,” Woolfson said.
“There were over 1,000 people on one block, but we had procedures in place.”
Although Thursday was the only official day for the class of 2005 to move in, Woolfson said many came Wednesday or over the weekend. Others moved in last Monday before the fifth Colonial Inauguration session.
Even with the changes, Thurston community specialist Matt Patashnick said there were long lines and upset parents during move-in.
“The biggest challenge is the parents because they don’t always realize that their problems are not the only ones,” Patashnick said.
Patashnick, a HOVA community facilitator last year, said parent complaints are almost unavoidable during move-in.
“I heard lots of horror stories but only the lines for the elevator were long,” Thurston CF and sophomore Josh Hartman said. “I thought it went really smoothly.”
At other freshman residence halls, upperclassmen greeted their new hallmates. During last spring’s housing selection, GW designated Crawford Hall as freshman housing, but then placed some rising sophomores in the building when faced with an unexpected returning student demand for rooms.
Some HOVA residents said they found enough space in their room for three people, while others said they felt cramped by extra furniture and belongings.
“I think there is enough room in the triples to handle three people,” freshman Isaiah Pickens said.
The University added beds to 70 HOVA rooms after more admitted students than expected chose to enroll at GW last spring, pushing the freshman class population to 2,250.
“With the amount of space in the rooms and shopping across the street, the location doesn’t seem so bad,” freshman Bryan Grackin said about HOVA.
“It’s a pretty tights space for three,” freshman Meghan Zeiders said. “It seems to be the same distance from campus as Thurston is.I would rather be here.”