Campus Conversation: Mari Anne Brocker Curry

Campus Conversation: Mari Anne Brocker Curry

It's one of the biggest transitions for students (and parents): college move-in day, scheduled this year for Aug. 23 at the University of Illinois.

What should you bring? How do you work out those roommate issues? And what's the best way to get through the day without a meltdown?

MARI ANNE BROCKER CURRY, associate housing director at the UI, has some good advice for a smooth transition in this week's Campus Conversation podcast with staff writer Julie Wurth. She's a move-in day expert, starting as a UI student in 1997 and later working for private certified housing before joining the UI Housing staff in 2004.

When I came to the UI, I didn't have much stuff, but now students cart all kinds of things into their rooms. What don't they bring anymore, and what do they bring?

"It's funny to see the range of things. There are families that bring a van and a trailer and a U-Haul, and there are other students who show up with two suitcases and they're ready to go. And that's great. Everybody does what they need to do to be comfortable.

"A couple of years ago when we rebuilt some of our residence halls, we actually quadrupled the amount of electrical outlets in our rooms, and I think that's telling. Our students do bring a lot more electronics than they used to. So we'll have gaming systems and TVs and computers and iPods and iPads and laptops. It just runs the gamut.

"Some students bring TVs and some don't. Some folks bring a whole coordinated matching comforter, wall hangings, the whole shebang. Other folks just bring a picture of their family and they're set."

What are some of the stranger things people bring?

"Sometimes, we catch families that want to really alter the room, and it's not allowed. ... They want to build their own loft instead of using our loftable furniture, or they bring in a carpet and they want to alter (the furniture) because the carpet made everything up off the ground and the door won't close.

"We're like, 'No, no, no, no, don't bring any saws.' If something's not working, reach out to our maintenance staff. There's an online maintenance request form. Students should absolutely do that and reach out to our front desk instead of taking matters into their own hands."

For our son's move-in day, we opted to stay overnight and say our goodbyes in the morning, when we weren't completely stressed out at the end of the day. Do you see more people doing that, and is it a good idea?

"It depends on what works for your family. And if yours is able to do that, and work allows, then absolutely. I think we have a lot of students that do that. It just really depends.

"We have students that come really early and mom and dad are gone by 2 or 3 and it's all good. They do it all in one day because they have other obligations. And then we have some folks that stay for a couple of days, get them settled in and kind of hang around. I don't know if that's for Mom and Dad's benefit or the students' benefit, but that's totally fine, too.

"I remember kind of pushing my parents out of the parking lot the first day, but they stayed over. And then I was really glad to kind of have them around one more day and be able to say goodbye."