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First-Year Students Get Exuberant Welcome to New Little Building

Students outside of the Little Building
Student orientation volunteers sang, danced, and helped first-year students move into the Little Building.
(Photo taken by Derek Palmer for Emerson College)
By David Ertischek ’01

Excited. That is the best way to describe how first-year students, student orientation leaders, parents, and basically everyone else, felt on Monday as the newly renovated Little Building opened its doors to its newest occupants.

“It’s such a fun day. It’s my favorite day,” said volunteer Lily Scher ’20. “I love Emerson. These families and students are nervous, and being able to be a friendly face and make the day go smoothly is such a special thing.”

Two students hug each other.
First-year roommates are excited to see each other during move-in day at the Little Building. Photo/Derek Palmer

For the first-time ever, all first-year students will be living in the Little Building, after the 102-year-old building underwent a two-year renovation.

Outside of the Little Building boisterous student orientation volunteers danced, sang, and screamed, “Welcome to Emerson!” as they quickly helped new students unload their vehicles into carts and onto the Little Building.

A mother and daughter wait in a car outside of the Little Building
Carleigh Allen and her mother, Dawn, wait inline outside of the Little Building to unpack Carleigh’s stuff. Photo/David Ertischek ’01

Waiting in their vehicle was Carleigh Allen and her mother, Dawn, from Birmingham, Alabama. Carleigh said she was excited for everything, and had only met her roommate online at that point.

Inside the Little Building, Jason Meier, director of Student and Engagement and Leadership, directed people in and out of the elevators as students transported their possessions to their new homes. Meier said they wanted 20 to 30 people to move in every 30 minutes through a constant trickle to avoid overcrowding the first floor, elevators, and dormitory.

Having worked first-year move-in for nine years, Meier knows a thing or two about the special day, particularly that there is a higher percentage of dance costumes worn by students than most days. “Sadly, yes, people wearing tutus decreases after orientation,” Meier added.

Waiting for an elevator, first-year student Talia Biery coordinated details with her mother, and said she was excited to explore Boston and soak up what she’ll learn in classes.

Inside the elevators sat orientation student volunteers going up and down while sitting on a wooden stool.

“3? 8? 10?” asked Jacon Solkoff ’21 while stopped at a floor as he shuttled folks. “I’m going up, I’ll come back…”

Solkoff started his elevator shift at 7:00 am, and had been in the elevator for three and a half hours by that time.

“You’re awesome,” said a parent while in the elevator, as Solkoff smiled and thanked him.

A student in an elevator
Lee Forrest ’21 handed out candy while operating the elevator. David Ertischek ’01

One elevator over, Lee Forrest ’21 donned rainbow socks, suspenders, and handed out candy. “I’m feeling a lot of love today,” said Forrest.

Student orientation volunteers like Hannah Flaherty ‘20 were spread out through the floors to help in any way possible. On each floor there are new color-coded community rooms that overlook Tremont Street.

Flaherty likes the new community rooms and felt they were bigger than the community spaces in 2 Boylston Place, where she lives. She added they are great places for students to study, cook up some food, socialize and just hang out.

Across the street at the Bordy Theater, Sharon Duffy, assistant vice president, Student Affairs, was assisting student orientation volunteers.

“This is a fantastic way to start off the year. The new incoming students have a beautiful, creative spirit to contribute to the Emerson community,” said Duffy.

A student props herself up in a doorway
Student orientation volunteers enjoy their work on move-in day. Photo/Derek Palmer

As first-year students met their roommates for the first time, dropped off their new comforters and started to learn about Boston, Gillian Anderson stood on the edge of Boston Common with her parents.

“I’m really excited and a little nervous,” said Gillian, who is the last of several siblings to go to college. “But I’m really excited for what’s ahead.”

Her father, Walt, smilingly admitted he was a little jealous that Gillian gets to go to such a great college and live in Boston, where he has wanted to live for several decades.

“I’m going to miss her like crazy,” said her mom, Monica. “We’ll stay in touch via text.”

Her parents added that Gillian will be three hours ahead of them because they live in California, which could make it difficult to communicate.

“Gillian is in a different time zone. When she’s going to bed…hopefully, when she’s going to bed, I’ll be up,” said Walt.

“I’ll be up to talk,” said Gillian, as the three of them headed off into the Boston Common.

A father and mother with their daughter in the Boston Common
Walt, Gillian, and Monica Anderson, enjoy Gillian’s first day at Emerson College before heading into the Boston Common.
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