WCU welcoming record number of students for fall semester

Members of the WCU community including faculty and staff members will be part of the welcome team that helps students on Freshman Move-In Day on Friday, Aug. 15.

Members of the WCU community including faculty and staff members will be part of the welcome team that helps students on Freshman Move-In Day on Friday, Aug. 15.

The Western Carolina University community is making preparations to welcome what is expected to be a record number of students for the start of fall semester classes on Monday, Aug. 18.

“Indicators are pointing to another all-time high in student enrollment, and we should exceed last year’s record enrollment of 10,107. Also, we anticipate that we will surpass last year’s first-year student enrollment of 1,614, and we could even see an entering class of 1,700 or more,” said Phil Cauley, WCU’s director of student recruitment and transitions.

The official fall enrollment will be established Friday, Aug. 29, which is the 10th class day and the census date as specified by the University of North Carolina General Administration.

Most freshmen will move into their rooms on campus Friday, Aug. 15, and upperclassmen will return that weekend. A week of activities has been planned to welcome all the students for the 2014-15 academic year, including WCU’s annual Valley Ballyhoo celebration Saturday, Aug. 16.

Freshman Move-In Day

For Freshman Move-In Day on Aug. 15, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to assist and help welcome WCU’s newest students between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“Our goal is to make the move-in process safe, fast and easy for students and their parents,” said Keith Corzine, assistant vice chancellor for campus services. “This is an exciting time for our new students as they start their university experience. It can also be a time where both parents and students are feeling the anxiety of separation. How effectively we work together to address their needs during this busy time will do much to leave a good first impression.”

Volunteers for move-in day are encouraged to work two-hour blocks, during which they will help move students’ belongings from the curb to their rooms. Members of the welcome team receive snacks, drinks and a free T-shirt. To volunteer, send a message to Stephanie Sue Helmers, assistant director for academic initiatives, at shelmers@wcu.edu.

During move-in day, areas around Scott, Walker, Balsam, Blue Ridge and Buchanan residence halls are expected to be especially congested. University Way will be modified from two-way traffic to one-way traffic to accommodate the large traffic volume. Also, several parking lots, including those around Scott, Walker, Balsam, Blue Ridge, Albright/Benton, and Buchanan residence halls and Jordan-Phillips Field House, will close during the early evening hours of Thursday, Aug. 14. Vehicles left in the lots will be subject to towing after 5 p.m.

With about 2,500 extra vehicles on campus, faculty and staff are encouraged to carpool on move-in day and to avoid traffic lanes designated for those moving into residence halls. Because traffic is expected to be heavy between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., faculty and staff are encouraged to stay on campus for lunch to ease congestion.

“Week of Welcome”

A.K. Hinds University Center’s “Week of Welcome” activities include Freshman Convocation in the Liston B. Ramsey Regional Activity Center on Aug. 15 at 5:30 p.m. and Valley Ballyhoo on the University Center lawn and Central Plaza from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 16.

Members of WCU’s class of 2018 will gather for a convocation program that will include remarks from Alison Morrison-Shetlar, provost; Garrett Whipkey, Student Government Association president; and Annette Debo, English professor and winner of the 2014 University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. Also, Chancellor David O. Belcher will provide the convocation address and deliver his charge to members of the class.

More than 5,000 WCU students typically attend Valley Ballyhoo each year to browse for freebies among the dozens of information tables set up by campus organizations and community organizations and vendors. The event also features music, inflatable yard toys, food vendors and other entertainment.

Other “Week of Welcome” activities include a movie that will be shown on the University Center lawn at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17, and an ice cream social scheduled for the main lobby of Reynolds Residence Hall on Aug. 18. Also, comedian Kevin Bozeman will perform at Illusions in the University Center at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19.

The sixth annual student employment fair will take place Tuesday, Aug. 20, in the University Center Grandroom from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The week’s activities conclude with screenings of “Amazing Spiderman 2” in the University Center theater Friday, Aug. 22, and Saturday, Aug. 23, and a concert by Breathe Carolina on the Central Plaza on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 9 p.m.

Dining changes

Campus Dining Services will introduce a new restaurant, Which Wich, to the Courtyard Food Court that will operate in space occupied last year by Freshens, which has relocated. Which Wich offers made-to-order sandwiches and lettuce wraps. Customers also have the option to “skinny the wich” and have the middle of the sandwich bun scooped out. The restaurant offers a variety of healthy, gluten-free options and is set to begin serving customers by Aug. 15.

Moe’s Southwest Grill will replace Zoca in the Courtyard Food Court, and the new restaurant is set to open in early- to mid-September. Also, the space where the Courtyard C-Store was located last year will be occupied by a P.O.D. Market and the relocated Freshens. Freshens will expand its menu with the addition of flatbreads and rice bowls. Both establishments will open during opening weekend.

Courtyard Dining Hall will begin offering to-go containers for fall. Students, faculty and staff can use block meals to enter the dining hall and grab food to-go. The to-go option will cost the same as dining in.

Bookstore consolidation

Catamount Stores is consolidating the Catamount Clothing and Gifts store, which had been operating in A.K. Hinds University Center, and the WCU Bookstore at the recently remodeled bookstore location. A clearance sale of limited items at Catamount Clothing and Gifts in the University Center will be held until the store closes in that location at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8.

Regular hours at the WCU Bookstore, which will feature bookstore items as well as merchandise that was offered at Catamount Clothing and Gifts, will be 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Hours will be extended for special events such as Homecoming, open house, orientation and others.

The consolidation will enhance staffing efficiencies and increase the number of hours that students and customers are able to visit the store to purchase items that were previously available at two locations with different schedules, said Pamela DeGraffenreid, director of Catamount Stores.

Parking changes

New on campus this fall is the conversion of a parking lot at the center of campus near the Alumni Tower and Coulter and Forsyth buildings to a metered, pay-by-the-hour parking lot. Beginning Aug. 18, the parking lot will be open to anyone, including visitors, and will cost $3 per hour between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. Two multi-meters in the lot will accept credit cards, debit cards and Cat Cash. They will not accept cash.

Formerly a lot designated for faculty and staff parking, the short-term pay-to-park area provides visitor parking at the center of campus, offers short-term parking to campus community members conducting business at the center of campus, and accommodates frequent closing of the lot for special events, said Ernie Hudson, chief of police at WCU.

Madison Hall changes

The Department of Residential Living will no longer provide overnight conference services in Madison Hall during the fall and spring semesters. Most rooms will be converted into double occupancy rooms during the academic year. Meeting space is still available, and conference services are available in Madison during the summer months.