SHIPPENSBURG — Frank Brogan, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, sas he learned a lot about the new students at Shippensburg University as he helped them move into residence halls Thursday.
“I’ve only been here a couple of hours, and already I’ve met kids from all over the world,” he said. “I’ve met people from Africa, Eastern Europe and South America, as well as other states.”
Brogan first helped with move-in days as president of Florida Atlantic University and then as chancellor of the State University System of Florida. It’s an experience he says he is happy to continue in Pennsylvania.
“It’s something I’ve always enjoyed,” he said. “It’s a very good opportunity to engage with new students and their families in an informal setting.”
In addition to Brogan and several members of his staff, Shippensburg Interim President Jody Harpster and a host of campus and community volunteers were on hand to keep things running.
“It’s been smooth,” said Ashley Jerome, one of 37 orientation leaders. “We have lovely volunteers from a lot of organizations ... The students get their keys, volunteers help to move things into their rooms, and police officers are directing traffic.”
Renee and John McInerney, of Bucks County, had a busy day as they helped their daughter, Madison, move onto campus for her freshman year, and their son, Cory, move into a nearby apartment for his junior year at Shippensburg.
Renee McInerney said the ride home from Shippensburg was difficult two years ago, and she doesn’t expect it to be any easier this time.
“I cried the entire time,” she said. “This time, I have an entire box of Kleenex. I’ll be crying the entire time again.”
Karen Flank, of Allentown, had similar thoughts as she helped her daughter, Taylor, move into her room. An only child, Taylor has never been away from home for too long, unless she was visiting relatives.
“The tears will come when she says goodbye,” Karen Flank said. “Neither one of us could sleep last night.”
Suzanne Mikesic, of Johnstown, also talked about the opportunities college will provide for her son, Tyler.
“It’s an awesome day because I get to see my son move on his way to bigger things in life,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better son.”
Brogan said college is a big change for both students and parents. Parents, he said, suddenly realize that although their children will visit, they may never again live permanently at home.
“That realization comes over mothers and fathers when they have moved them in and are saying goodbye,” he said.
His advice to new students is to “make parents a part of the university experience.”
“Invite them to Homecoming and Parents Day,” he said. “Don’t shut them out. Create memories.”
Email Debbie Chestnut at email@example.com