NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Release) – As early as age 6, Jeia Moore was fascinated with Tennessee State University and believed she’d one day be a Big Blue Tiger. Today, she’s part of the TSU family.
Moore was among the first group of more than 1,300 first-time freshmen who received keys to their dorm rooms in Wilson Hall during freshman move-in day at TSU on Tuesday. Jeia’s parents, James and Camilla Moore, made the trip from Memphis to help her get settled.
“TSU was my first choice for college,” said Jeia, who has no previous ties to TSU, except a recent college tour. She will major in marketing. “No one persuaded me to come to this university except my conscience. I love the culture and tradition that I believe will help me to grow and develop into the woman I want to be.”
This year, freshman move-in day took place over the course of two days. Officials say the change was intended to shorten wait time and make processing easier for students, parents and volunteers. The first move-in on Tuesday was limited to all-female Wilson Hall, the largest residence hall on campus. The rest of the move ins took place on Wednesday. During both days’ activities, more than 200 volunteers, including student organizations, alumni, staff and friends helped to move luggage, boxes of personal belongings and other items, while others pointed out directions and manned water and refreshment stations for the new residents.
TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover, who personally unloaded some of the students’ luggage, greeted and welcomed the new Tigers.
“This is really going well and I am very impressed,” the President said about the move. “I appreciate the commitment and dedication of our staff, students and volunteers. Everybody is busy and making sure our new students settle in well. That’s really impressive.”
Savannah Williams, who drove in with her parents from Chicago, was also impressed with the atmosphere, but found the sudden realization of leaving home for the first time a little overwhelming.
“Leaving home for the first time is like really hitting me now,” said Williams, who will major in occupational therapy. “I guess it is time to mature. You got to learn to live on your own. It feels good to finally move in because I have been waiting. I am excited.”
Just like Williams, the feeling of sadness and excitement was the same among parents who came to drop their children off. Jeia’s parents said their hearts were heavy, but are excited that TSU is the right school to give her the academic and social nurturing she needs.
“She is leaving home and it is so sad that she is leaving, but I know that my daughter has what it takes to pursue her dreams and to live out those things which she has cherished for a long time,” said Camilla Moore.
“I am sad but I am very excited that my daughter got this opportunity. TSU is a great institution that will give her an opportunity to nurture and grow here not only academically, but also socially,” added James Moore.
Ronald Fenderson, a dental hygiene major from Plymouth, Michigan, was among those who checked in on Wednesday. He will live in Watson Hall. Accompanying him were his older sister Jakayla Fenderson, and their parents, Willie and Janelle Wilson. A standout, all-around player on the football team at Canton High School, Ronald Fenderson expects to be a walk-on for the TSU Tigers.
“I have been in contact with the coaches, and I have been training all year for this and I am ready to go,” said Ronald, who learned about TSU during an HBCU tour. “TSU was the last place we came to and it just stuck with me.”
The Wednesday arrival was just timely for Ronald. Among volunteers helping with move-in were representatives of the TSU athletic program, including members of the football, basketball, volleyball and track teams.
Head football Coach Rod Reed said as students who have been here, athletes can also help to make the transition process easier for new students.
“It is always good for our kids to get out and help out in the community,” Reed said. “This is a community effort for our athletes to be able to meet new people and help them break the ice, and maybe develop lasting friendships.”
Many community partners, including churches, banking institutions, food vendors, the Army, and WTST, The Blaze, TSU’s student-run radio station, set up tents and tables with free refreshments, food, giveaways and entertainment for the new students, volunteers and visitors. Among them were 15th Avenue Baptist Church, New Season Church, and Restoration Corner Ministry, which set up water stations and feeding tables in several residence halls.
“We came out to be part of the hospitality,” New Season Pastor Dwayne Lewis said Wednesday. “We were at Wilson Hall yesterday, and today we’re at Watson.”
Like the first day, officials said Wednesday’s move-in was just as smooth.
“The staff of Housing and Residence Life came up with this pilot for a two-day move-in and it has worked perfectly,” said Dr. Tracey Ford, vice president for Student Activities. “Mr. Brent Dukhie, the interim director, is a real strategist. He has been around housing for a long time. He understands and develops processes so things move along more smoothly. He was able to take a look at this process and be able to streamline it in such a way that we haven’t seen before.”
Incoming freshman Kiana Jones moved in Wednesday and said she’s looking forward to her college experience at TSU because her high school in Huntsville, Alabama, was predominantly white.
“I came to TSU because I like to experience different cultures from all over the country,” Jones said. “I really wanted to see what an HBCU would feel like. I’m excited to be here.”
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With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.