By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
Most Grand Canyon University students who experience Move-In want to pay it forward by volunteering. It’s an experience that can be transformational — just ask Makenzie Powers.
“When I was a freshman, going through the line of cars and things, I was particularly shy,” Powers said. “My mom was loving it and I was like, ‘Oh, whoa, I’m not sure about this.’ But as soon as somebody came up to my window and was like, ‘Hey, this is where you’re living, let me take you up here,’ I was like, ‘OK, this is awesome,’ and they conversed with me and I immediately felt like I had a friend on campus.
“My freshman experience was very impacted by the community that GCU provides. … It was the workers at Welcome Week that all kind of made the experience for me. Just seeing that changed me from coming into it with more of a negative, pessimistic attitude. I want to be that person for somebody else.”
Arie McQuaig III, Bria Meeks, Adrianna Tosi and Tyrale Luken saw Move-In as a chance to get involved on campus and show their school spirit in an exciting, energetic way.
“This is my first time doing this and I love it,” Luken said. “I forgot to turn on my alarm, but these people got me up and got me going and I’m really feeling it.”
Despite the early start to her day, Tosi agreed that the high energy of Move-In kept her from feeling tired.
“It’s nice to be this excited this early,” Tosi said.
Meeks, who is both a resident assistant and an orientation leader, said she was “pumped” to make the experience as exciting as she could for the freshmen.
Aubrey Krezmien also was seeing the Move-In scene for the first time, but for a different reason: She’s a freshman. Because she’s in the Thundering Heard Pep Band, she already was on campus, so she joined other band members in helping her classmates.
“I’m kind of sad that I’m missing this,” Krezmien said. “But I’m glad I can make it a good experience for everybody else coming in.”
Krezmien was quite a sight: She was sporting a bunch of sticky notes on her volunteer shirt, placed there by another Thundering Heard member, Angelica Galaviz, after they had been removed from arriving cars. Krezmien hopes that by volunteering, she can help other freshmen feel more comfortable on campus.
“It’s a little daunting to see this many people out here screaming at your car,” she said, “but I hope they know we’re all here for them.”
Volunteering was sophomore Lexi Clubb‘s first exposure to what GCU’s Move-In process at The Grove looks like. “I’m glad I can be a part of it now,” she said.
Andrew Faitz and Matthew Hull said the experience was all about the thrill of welcoming new students to campus.
“It’s really exciting,” Faitz said. “Campus begins to become alive once kids start moving in.”
For Hull, it also was an opportunity to be reunited with his friends.
There’s music, there’s dancing and there’s an opportunity with every freshman to make a new friend — those are the GCU memories that keep students coming back to volunteer.
Seniors, such as McQuaig, Galaviz and Bowen Moreno, rang in their last Welcome Week as undergraduates lifting boxes and throwing their Lopes Up in the air as cars of excited families passed.
“When I first did it, I noticed instantly that I wanted to be a part of that next year for sure,” McQuaig said. “It’s my third year, and it’s always the same energy.”
Galaviz also likes meeting the families and getting them hyped up for the new school year. That’s why she called her last Welcome Week “incredible.”
Moreno, who has participated in Move-In four times, never seems to get tired of the excitement.
“It’s a very hectic and crazy experience, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said.
Contact GCU staff writer Ashlee Larrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 602-639-8488.