ANDERSON — Kathy Cubellis, of Fort Wayne, put her arms around a white mini-fridge and swung it into place against the wall before wiping down the red microwave in the Dunn Hall dorm room her sons will share at Anderson University.
Zach Cubellis-Lund, a freshman preparing to study athletic training, and Alex Cubellis-Lund, a transfer student in the nursing program, haven’t shared a room since they were toddlers.
“It’s gonna be a little different. I’m excited to say, ‘It’s morning. Time to get out of bed,’” Zach Cubellis-Lund said. “We both wanted to come here for swim team, and it’s also No. 1 for what I want to study.”
The brothers now have participated in the first of many AU traditions, Move-In Day. The day is one of many events, including a picnic later in the day, leading up to the start of the 2019-20 school year on Monday.
With rock music blaring, about 400 freshmen and transfer students were greeted Thursday by university staff, upperclassmen and Rodney the Raven who helped them unload cars, minivans and pickup trucks into the several dorm buildings on campus. The perimeters of the campus and the entries to the dorms were populated with returning students carrying signs and welcoming their schoolmates.
Shannon Bradley dropped off her son Parker Bradley, a freshman from near Louisville, Kentucky, who came to AU to study accounting and business and to play tennis.
“I don’t like dropping off my baby,” the mother of four said.
Jim Scott, professor in AU’s Department of Kinesiology and director of the university’s natatorium, was one of dozens of staffers who volunteered to help get the students settled into what will be their home for the next nine months.
“It is one of the best days on campus,” said Scott, who has volunteered for Move-In Day for each of the 29 years he has worked for the university. “We get our steps in for the day. I don’t carry near as heavy stuff as I used to.”
Even AU President John Pistole, wearing jeans and a red Polo-style Anderson University shirt, helped pitched in at Meyerson and Myers halls, where he carried a mini-fridge to an upper floor for a student. He said the help offered as a primal sacrament to incoming students often is a surprise to families.
“There were two grandmothers who came along thinking they were going to have to carry things,” he said. “It’s just an exciting way to welcome the students, some who are the first generation of college students in their families,” he said.
The chapel theme for this school year in which students will be prepared for a life of faith and service, Pistole said, is “Hello, Hope.”
“We all want to live with hope. We all strive to live with hope. How do we as a Christian liberal arts school help young people who don’t feel that?” he said. “We help develop the students’ life stories.”