5,400 students descend on campus for the new academic year
The North Carolina heat isn’t melting the spirits of East Carolina University’s class of 2027 as they move in this week. Trucks, vans and trailers were scattered around campus as students began filling the residence halls during early move-in Tuesday. Approximately 5,400 students are expected to move into residence halls this week at ECU, the highest number since 2019.
Students started at Minges Coliseum to collect room keys, get move-in details and take a quick photo with family and friends before heading out to their home for the next year.
Jodi McKay has two sons in the ECU Honors College, a senior and a freshman, so the family is familiar with move-in day.
“But we haven’t started moving stuff yet, so we’ll see how that goes with this heat,” she said.
McKay said she and her husband were Hokie fans until her older son was accepted in the Honors College and offered a scholarship.
“He was interested in construction management, and we did our research and looked around, and everybody in the industry told us that ECU’s construction management program was the best, basically, on the East Coast, and their graduates were definite hires,” she said. “So we looked into the honors program and couldn’t be more impressed with what we saw, and three years later, we love everything about it. So we’re super excited to have our next son be joining the Pirate crew.”
“Both of my kids got into multiple schools, they got into several different honors programs, and what ECU has offered as far as academic support and financial assistance for the kids that are in this program is just unparalleled. We’ve been impressed from day one with every aspect of Pirate Nation, and we’re excited to have another one coming here,” McKay said.
Phyllistine Simmons waited on her daughter, Malay Simmons, a freshman from Murfreesboro, who was picking up the key fob for her residence hall in the West End neighborhood. Phyllistine picked a shady spot at a table in the courtyard behind Garrett Residence Hall.
“I’ll tell you I was crying yesterday because I’m going to miss her. Me and her, we’re two peas in a pod, together. I miss her already,” Phyllistine said. “But I’m grateful that she wanted to go to college because I wanted her to go.”
Malay comes to ECU with a high school diploma and associate degree after completing her studies at Hertford County Early College in Ahoskie. She plans to major in nursing.
To help students with their boxes and carts, volunteers from organizations at ECU and the community help families carry items to rooms and navigate campus. ECU Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee team members Rachel Bruns, Caroline Herring and Ryley Tabor were helping residents move into Jarvis Residence Hall Wednesday. The club helps every year.
“I think a lot of people in general like volunteering, but we also get to know the freshmen and can recruit if they want to join a club, otherwise, we’re a friendly face,” said Herring, a graduate student from Bowie, Maryland.
“We were in their position last year, so it’s kind of like we know how it feels and we want to help them adjust as best as they can to something different like coming to college,” said Tabor, a sophomore from Pittsboro.
From storage organizers to bedding, students and their parents moved cart after cart into ECU’s residence halls. Some brought something special to remind them of home.
“I brought my fish,” said Haylee Dorsey, an elementary education major moving in for her second year in Ballard Hall. “He’s a blue beta, and his name is Bluey.”
Dorsey said she’s excited about starting a new job in the Neighborhood Service Office.
Emily Ricci of New Jersey brought along a childhood keepsake.
“I have my childhood blanket that I brought to give me a sense of home,” she said.
Her father, Mike Ricci, said it was a day of mixed emotions.
“I’m definitely happy and looking forward to what the future’s going to bring for Emily,” he said. “And obviously sad to be dropping her off and … leaving’s going to be very tough.”
For Mia Taylor, an intended nursing major moving into Greene Hall, there was one thing she couldn’t do without in her new room.
“That would be the fan,” she said.
Sadie Lang, an Honors College freshman from Greenville, was moving into Greene Residence Hall where the D.H. Conley High School graduate will be rooming with a friend, Kemorah Ullah, who graduated from J. H. Rose. Lang plans to major in speech and hearing sciences with plans to get a master’s degree and become a speech language pathologist.
“ECU has a great program for it, and I have a friend who’s in the master’s program here and loves it, so I thought it would be a good fit for me,” Lang said. She said she’s looking forward to “meeting new people and having new experiences.”
Making new friends is also something that Andrea Barban, a freshman from Hudson, is looking forward to this fall. Her uncle, Julio Lopez, helped load items into a cart to take up the Jarvis Residence Hall elevator. Barban plans to major in nursing, and the program’s reputation was a big reason she wanted to attend ECU.
“I’m excited for her,” Lopez said. “It’s very exciting for the family to see the next generation going to college.”
Dr. Brandon Frye, vice chancellor for student affairs, said there is a variety of programming throughout the year that will help students build a sense of community on campus. That includes ECU’s Pirate Experience events centered around introducing new students to Pirate Nation including opportunities to meet other students and learning how to get engaged with campus organizations.
“There are going to be so many great activities planned for them. We’re really going to be focused on getting them on campus, getting a sense of belonging and making sure they feel that Pirate Nation spirit,” Frye said.
The first day of class is Monday, Aug. 21.