Move-in day like Christmas for residence elves

Getting ready for Residence Move-in Day is a bit like the elves preparing for Christmas, says Diane Rawlings: “We’ve been gearing up since last spring.”

Her department will help about 1,000 students move into six residence halls on Sunday, September 4, but before that can happen, a lot of work must get done in the background.

Besides routine maintenance work familiar to anyone who has ever moved, three major renovation projects have consumed the summer:

  • The construction of the International Student Centre in Laurier Hall;
  • Improvements to washrooms on five floors of Laurier Hall, involving new showers, sinks, plumbing and electrical upgrades; and
  • A makeover of the concourse on the ground floor of Vanier Hall.

“The changes to Vanier will make it a more inviting space,” says Rawlings. “We’re raising the ceilings, installing new lighting and seating to create more of a lounge feel similar to the second floor of the CAW Student Centre.”

The former Mini-Mart retail location is being transformed to provide overflow seating for patrons of the Crocodile Grill.

“This work to improve the infrastructure and aesthetics of our buildings is all about improving the experience for our students through the year,” Rawlings says.

Residence Life staff and the Windsor InterResidence Council spend many hours through the summer planning events to help newcomers feel at home. Residence assistants have been getting training in everything from community-building to conflict resolution.

“We really believe in the importance of getting students connected to the campus community,” says Rawlings. “We’re focused on having them succeed in university.”

In the meantime, there are a lot of organizational details to making Sunday a success and she says it takes a team to make it happen—housekeeping and maintenance staff preparing the buildings, programming key cards, decorating hallways and lounges, and arranging for volunteers to assist with move-in. The focus then shifts to welcome week activities planned to ease the transition to the new year.

“It’s all about building excitement,” Rawlings says. “Move-in day and welcome week activities are key to creating that excitement.”