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Thousands move to Boone

Article Published: Aug. 26, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Thousands move to Boone

Community members, university staff, students and alumni pitched in with Appalachian State University's move-in day last Friday.

Photo by Lauren K. Ohnesorge

Not even construction turns new freshmen Eric Bowlby off of his new school.

"It means the alumni really love it," he said.

The Indian Trail native was among the thousands of students heaving boxes, hand trucks and bedding into the dorm elevators last Friday, causing long lines of cars, parental anxiety and crowds at the bookstore. "I love it here," he said.

And, while he's not nervous, there are other people to consider.

"My mom's going to be a complete mess because of how she is," he laughed, "but I'm not too sad about leaving."

After all, for freshmen like Bowlby, Appalachian State University isn't just a school; it's a new world, ripe with new people, new experiences, and a double dose of adulthood.

Winston-Salem parent Christy Collins is confident her daughter, Jessica Barnes, is ready for the challenge.

"But it's hard to see her leave home," she said. "I think I worry about her up here, parties and stuff."

But, according to Barnes, her mom doesn't need to worry. She's not here for parties. She chose ASU for one reason. "I can't wait to check out some hiking trails," she said.

Parents like Tracy Rogers were impressed with move-in in general.

"It was only 45 minutes to unload," she said.

And, while she's sad to see daughter Elizabeth leave, there's a 7-year-old sibling at home who's celebrating. "She's threatening to take over sissy's room," Rogers laughed.

As for her Elizabeth?

"She's doing fine," Rogers said. "She's excited."

For Watauga High School grad Marissa Pannell, it may not be about a new town, but it is about new people.

"It's wonderful," she said. "There's so many new people, and everyone's really friendly. Even going to the bathroom is really exciting because everyone is new."

And Pannell has a social draw, her Boone knowledge, and she's sharing it freely.

"I tell them you're going to end up loving the outdoors because that's what Boone is," she said.
And not even that blustery outdoor weather is scaring these freshmen off.

"The weather is exciting because I know in about two weeks, it will turn out cold and I'll be happy," Hickory freshman Aaron Pierce said.

The only part of ASU he's not looking forward to?

"Classes. I really don't' want to start doing work again," he said.

Students and parents weren't the only ones showing off their lifting skills Friday. Delta Chis Craig Kasek and Anthony Parks were among the volunteers helping with load-in.

For Kasek, a transfer student who never had the dorm experience, it's particularly special.

"It's kind of cool to see all the dorms and meet new freshmen," he said. "It's also a good way to recruit."

After all, joining the Delta Chis helped him mesh, not only with his new university, but with the Boone community thanks to service projects. He has some advice ready for students trying to fit in.

"I'd say just be yourself," he said. "Be social. Meet new people. Join a club."
Parks would agree.

"Just do what you do and have fun, man, because it goes by clearly all too fast," the senior said. "Don't really care about what people think. They hate because they want to be who you are."

"Don't be scared to take risks," senior Meredith Fann chipped in. "Make this time your own."

Everyone, after all, has advice.

"Get out and do stuff," grad student Gary Libretti said. "It took me a year before I thought to get out and explore the town."

If he could do it again? "I'd probably start a little sooner," he said.

"Utilize what the campus has to offer," ROTC Battalion Commander Josh Dixon said. "There are a lot of programs and events."

He and the rest of his team were directing traffic and dispensing advice Friday.

As for the freshmen, once the hugs were over and the line of traffic started to disappear, that's when the real fun started.

"Now, if it wasn't for class," freshman Pierce joked.

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