Editor’s Note: This article was written by The Volante’s news editor Maddilynn Kallsen and The Volante’s photo editor Sydney Johnson.
With new students beginning new chapters of their lives at USD, families of the incoming students will also start a new chapter by having one less constant in their own home.
“My parents have mixed feelings. They’re happy for me to go, but there’s lots of feelings. I live two hours away, so it’s not going to be too bad of a drive if I want to go back home,” Sam Bosker, first-year student, said.
Kevin Mutchelknaus, dad of a first-year student, said he’ll miss their students’ responsibility and calm demeanor along with the presence they bring.
“I absolutely will not miss walking into her room and not being able to see the floor because it’s scattered with clothing and everything else. Hopefully she does a better job of keeping the room clean because now she has a new roommate,” Mutchelknaus said.
Various USD fraternities and sororities volunteered to help incoming freshmen move in.
mom of a first-year student Christi Schaeppi said the move was very easy and that lots of help was available.
“We moved my older daughter into USD two years ago and she moved in early so we didn’t have quite as much help. This was pretty cool,” Schaeppi said. “Our experience with USD so far with my older daughter has been awesome. I’m really excited that they’re both here and they can kind of lean on each other a little bit.”
“We’ve only been here for, you know, 15 minutes to a half an hour [since] we pulled into town, we’re done. So, no tears yet, I mean I think it’s fast enough, we’re going to get out of here and then cry,” Mutchelknaus said.
Along with parents, siblings also helped incoming freshmen move in.
Some siblings have been taking advantage of their new living arrangements by taking over the new open space in the house.
“I’m excited because my brother goes here. I get the whole house to myself. My sister tries to be my mom, so I definitely will not miss that at all. I’ll miss us having conversations at night,” Jaelynn Christensen, sibling of a first-year student, said. “It’s more chores for me to do around the house. My sister does a lot, so my parents are sad she’s going because I don’t like to do a lot.”
“I’m excited to see the different opportunities I can get involved in, the different people that will be here and the sporting events. I think it’ll be really fun,” Adaya Mclin, first-year student, said.
Following President Gestring’s announcement of the university’s five-year strategic plan in 2019 Katharina Wymar, USD’s Project Management Operations manager, set out to learn how USD could enhance student onboarding.
Onboarding is a process in which the university helps new students adjust to the social and academic performance aspects of their new life as a college student. It aims to help new students quickly acclimate and become highly productive in their day-to-day work.
Beginning on freshman move-in day, Wymar and some of her colleagues set up tables in the Muenster University Center to catch students and their parents and ask them questions on what the university can do to improve the onboarding process and make it more streamlined for everyone involved.
“Student onboarding encompasses not just move-in day,” Wymar said. “It really encompasses all of the processes from the beginning. It involves when the student comes and applies to the university, the whole registration process, and all the way up until move-in day, registering for classes, and the first couple days here on campus.”
Prior to students moving onto campus, Wymar and her colleagues spoke to different departments within the university and got faculty feedback on the onboarding process and how the university could change certain processes to benefit everyone involved.
Now that students are back on campus and are finished with onboarding, the university is planning to take into consideration the suggestions made by faculty, parents and students, and find ways to make changes that will enhance the process.
“It has been really fantastic getting all the feedback from parents and students,” Wymar said. “We’ve gotten a lot of good ideas, but we’ve also had quite a bit of overwhelming positive feedback from students and parents, so we are happy with that.”