SHIPPENSBURG — Krishna Vachhani has already cried, so she promised not to shed any more tears while she helped her daughter, Sheena, move into her dormitory at Shippensburg University Thursday morning.
“I already cried for a month,” she joked. “But I’m not going to cry today. I’m missing her so much already, but I’m glad it’s not too far from home.”
Sheena Vachhani, of Bethlehem, is a freshman majoring in psychology at Shippensburg University. She is one of nearly 1,700 new students — mostly freshmen — who arrived at Shippensburg during Fall Welcome Week, which started Thursday and runs through Aug. 29.
Sheena Vachhani’s father, Jay Vachhani, said he was both nervous and excited, and also a little worried that his daughter had overpacked.
“She brought a lot of stuff,” he said.
Shippensburg University band members and athletes worked with faculty, staff and employees to help the Vachhanis and other families unload vehicles and carry belongings into their rooms.
“Move-in day is always one of the most exciting times at the beginning of school, and today is no different,” said Jody Harpster, interim president of Shippensburg University. “The weather is cooperating. Students and parents seem to be excited and enthusiastic ... Everyone’s helping to get people moved in.
“The campus community has come together to welcome freshmen and new transfer students into the Shippensburg family.”
Harpster recalled carrying a television up five flights of stairs during a previous stint as interim president.
“It was a big television,” he said with a laugh. “This time, I was hoping no one asked me to grab the end of any big televisions. Fortunately, the football players were grabbing the big stuff. They handed me a case of water.”
Harpster said he enjoyed helping new students move onto campus Thursday.
“It was fun,” he said. “It was great to meet everyone.”
Among the people at the university were Danette Swartley, of Mechanicsburg; Brian Belski, of Harrisburg; and their son, Luke Swartley-Belski.
“I’m an alumni,” said Swartley, who graduated from SU in 1994. “He’s living in the same dorm and on the same floor as me.”
“I’m going to be haunted by the ghost of my mother’s past,” Luke laughed.
Kenya Dillard, of Harrisburg, said sending her son, Joshujuan, to college is bittersweet.
“I already started to cry on the way here,” she said. “But I’m happy for him to go to college.”
“I’m happy he’s going,” said Joshujuan’s sister, 9-year-old Ariel. “Sometimes he just gets on my nerves.”
She quickly added, however, “sometimes he’s a big brother who keeps me safe.”
The day was also bittersweet for Jill Malis, whose son, Sam, is a freshman this year.
“I’m very proud, but it’s very hard to let the first one leave the nest,” she said.
Harpster said everything went according to plan Thursday. New students arrived at designated times, according to zip code, which kept traffic flowing smoothly throughout the day, and volunteers did an excellent job of unloading vehicles.
“Parents are listening well, students are listening well and cars move when they’re supposed to,” said Chris Littlejohn, a member of the orientation staff.
“The biggest delay is the tearful goodbye,” Harpster said. “It’s a transition time. Parents are losing their kids to us, and we are going to do our absolute best to make sure they are well taken care of. But when they say goodbye, it’s very emotional for many fathers and mothers.”