A team of Emerson students in blue T-shirts and various levels of accessorizing pulls cardboard boxes from the back of a hatchback and deposits them into a large rolling bin until the height of the containers and the motion of the bin combine to become an iffy proposition.
“We’re going to need another cart!” one student yells to fellow students in and around the entrance to the Colonial Building.
Minutes later, two box-laden bins are safely inside the building; the hatchback has melted into Boylston Street traffic; and Laurie Ender of Valencia, California, is on the sidewalk, waiting for her son, Davis, and his dad to arrive.
Davis is starting his first year at Emerson, where he will study Sports Communication. And on Monday, August 29, Ender, his mom, is in the middle of the late-summer ritual known as Emerson Move-In, a two-day ballet of controlled frenzy in which hundreds of freshmen and their families go from street to suite in about 10 minutes.
Ender took an Uber out to Bed Bath & Beyond in the Fenway to pick up Davis’s residence hall supplies and was supposed to rendezvous with her family back on Boylston Street at the same time, but her driver got lucky and Ender was early.
Davis is Ender’s youngest child, and the only one to go to college so far away, she said.
“It’s a whole new experience being on an urban campus… but so far, it’s amazing,” Ender said. “And the best part is how excited my son is.”
Inside the Little Building lobby, Tim Sanders of Fremont, California, was reading a display of published faculty members with his parents, Beverly and Phil. Tim, a freshman Musical Theatre major, wasn’t scheduled to move into his residence hall until Tuesday, but he and his family were getting their bearings on campus after spending the weekend exploring Boston.
Tim said he decided to cross three time zones for college because Emerson’s Musical Theatre program is “one of the best in the country,” and now his adventure begins.
“I’m really nervous,” Sanders said. “But excited, too.”
All those nervous and excited students and their families could get their questions answered by Zoe Cronin ’17 and Patty De La Garza ’18, student volunteers who were posted at an info table outside the Little Building.
After about two hours on Monday morning, Cronin estimated they had answered about 20 questions.
“I would put it up around 35,” De La Garza said.
What do they ask?
“What do I do? Where is there a bathroom? Where do I get an ID?” Cronin rattled off before stopping to help another parent.
Allie Fielding and her parents, Philip and Sharon, were strolling down Boylston Street on Monday morning, en route back to their hotel. Allie was scheduled to move into her Piano Row suite at 12:30 and needed to gather her things, but she already had her Emerson ID (“I was the first one of the day”) and she was ready.
“Seeing all the people moving us in being so hype, it’s really working to get me hyped,” Fielding said.
The Film Production major had two cars’ worth of stuff to get into her room, her father reported. She didn’t leave much behind at her Morristown, New Jersey, home, apart from her cat, Otis, they said, but among her most important things: her records, a stuffed dog from her boyfriend, and a flannel blanket from Vermont.
Fielding will be sharing a suite with four other students, all of whom she met on Facebook over the summer and in real life at dinner on Sunday night, she said.
“They’re all incredible people,” Fielding said. “I’m really happy I found a group of girls who are so compatible and just really nice people.”
Nancy Cox of Glen Cove, New York, had just been dropped off on Boylston Street by her daughter’s future mother-in-law, who had grown up in Boston’s North End and knew how to navigate the one-way streets, Cox said. Her husband and her son, Liam, were coming in a separate car, but with all Liam’s stuff, she didn’t fit.
Liam is the youngest of four, Cox said. He doesn’t know what he wants to major in yet, but he’s a musician, a writer, and has recently gotten into voice-over acting. Whatever he decides to do, Emerson will have what he needs, she said.
“When we came to visit, we loved everything,” she said. “We loved the way they were like, ‘Just be yourself.’
“H[e]…does his own thing, so we feel he found the perfect place.”