From Across the Nation, New Students Descend on TSU Campus for freshman move-in day

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.

President Glenda Glover, left, joins volunteers to unload students’ luggage during freshman move-in day at TSU. (Photo By Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“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.

Parents James Moore, left, and Camilla Moore, right, spend a moment with their daughter, Jeia, after dropping her off during freshman move-in day at TSU. Jeia will major in marketing. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“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.”

Ronald Fenderson, left, who arrived Wednesday, expects to be a walk-on for the TSU Tigers’ Football Team. He was accompanied by his sister, Jakayla Fenderson; mother, Janelle Wilson; and father, Willie Wilson. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

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.”

Members of the TSU Tigers’ Football Team help to move in new students in Wilson Hall. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

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.”

Incoming freshman Kiana Jones, center, of Huntsville, Alabama, with her mother Tiffany, and her friend, Shawn Burrell. (Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSu Media Relations

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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