With fellow students, faculty and staff assisting, hundreds of new Bulldogs moved into UNC Asheville’s residence halls on August 15, 2014, and began college life.
While some students arrange to room together with high school friends, Mills Hall roommates Shannon Bodeau and Brooke Eichenlaub met each other for the first time as they unpacked.
Bodeau, a San Francisco native whose family had relocated to the Knoxville, Tenn. area, came to UNC Asheville to study biology. “I wanted to be somewhere that inspires me to learn more about the nature around me, and this place did,” she said.
Eichenlaub, of Apex, N.C., arrived on campus a week early to take part in pre-rendezblue. “It was amazing,” she says. “I met so many people and it made the transition so much easier.” Asheville’s arts scene and “diverse environment – like nowhere else in North Carolina” were big attractions for Eichenlaub, who plans to double-major in mass communication and art history.
All first year students gathered in the afternoon for Convocation, UNC Asheville’s welcoming ceremony, which included an address to new students by Professor Peter Caulfield. He looked back to the start of his freshman year more than four decades ago, and shared this story of using technology that was available then to try solve a problem that still bedevils students today.
“I tied my alarm clock – an old wind up – by some twine to a pipe along the ceiling. It dangled just inches above my head, just over my ear. No dice. … I still couldn’t wake up for classes on my own.”
After finally mastering the art of early rising, Caulfield embarked on a distinguished academic career. One of the university’s finest writing instructors, Caulfield is UNC Asheville’s 2014 Distinguished Teacher.
“I hope it’s easier for you,” said Caulfield, “but it is a big deal, a big transition, lots of new things to learn, new routines to adjust to, but you will do it. One thing this story should teach you, though, is that if you do screw up early on like I did, you can make it right.” Caulfield urged students who miss any classes to meet with their professors right away to explain and get guidance.
Student Government Association President James Whalen also spoke, delivering a fiery message urging students not to wait, but to get active in tackling society’s problems even while pursuing their studies. He quoted the late Cesar Chavez, to encourage students to “choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity.”
Whalen also leavened his serious talk: “… in the next four years, have fun! Learn, laugh and love.” And some serious fun began right after Convocation, with a picnic, and then the music, games, and activities of Rockypalooza.
The welcome activities continue through the weekend with rendezblue, though students will want to set their alarm clocks for Monday, August 18, when classes for the fall semester begin.