Bedspread? Check. Toothbrush? Check. Desk lamp? Check.
Once students move in and unpack their bags, there’s still a few things left on the list, and they can be found at the UD Bookstore.
What’s next? Textbooks.
Hundreds of students placed their orders to be shipped early and they brought their books to campus. The thousands of others chose to brave the lines during move-in weekend and shop in-store, which made for a busy day for customers and employees.
But thanks to a little patience and a lot of caffeine, the long waits in line and the long shifts at work ended with success.
Starting in 2012, any student who toured campus and submitted a FAFSA by the deadline was awarded a $500 scholarship, renewable each semester for four years. Students from three classes are currently eligible to receive the scholarship, and that accounted for a lot of the transactions over the weekend.
While the cost of textbooks can be steep, the bookstore has taken steps to help students prevent paying out of pocket. Scholarship funds can now be used on rental textbooks, a potential savings of 30 percent.
I usually work part time at the bookstore but worked full time this weekend, and noticed about 25 percent of scholarship-eligible students chose to rent at least one book. Several were able to stay within the $500 limit because of it.
Now, cross textbooks off the list, and think of what’s left. It may be a student’s first day on campus, and they want to show off their Flyer pride. Or maybe a senior has some worn out clothes and wants to update their wardrobe. What better way than with a new UD T-shirt or hoodie?
Among the baskets full of books, there was usually a pair of arms full of new red and blue gear too.
Cross the last thing off that checklist, and relax. No matter the year, the first day of classes is always the start of something great.
Sleepy first-years dressed in their Sunday best sauntered into the unfamiliar RecPlex for an inspirational start to their morning, thanks to the wisdom of notable students and faculty.
President Daniel J. Curran kicked off the Convocation speeches at 9 a.m., Aug. 26, with a simple encouragement: be a leader.
“It’s easy to love being a member of the University of Dayton community, but the only way this great community will become better — and address its challenges — is that we all contribute. This means you have to be leaders in many ways,” Curran said. “Be a leader here, during your time at the University. And when you leave, be a leader for the world.”
Convocation not only welcomes new students to be leaders, but also new faculty into their academic careers at UD. New dean of the School of Engineering Eddy Rojas, senior civil engineering major Vincent Spahr and English professor John McCombe gave a testimony on each of their academic careers and UD experiences, insisting that a commitment to learning in all aspects ensures a worthwhile four (or five) years at UD — and for life.
“You all have a story, even though most students don’t think their story is very interesting. Share that story,” McCombe said. “Talk to us. That emotional connection might not change that ‘D’ to an ‘A,’ but when you’re making an argument, and the audience connects with you a little bit, that can be a good thing.”
The students and faculty pledged their honor and pinned their newfound Marianist pride, completing their orientation.
With best wishes and good luck from all corners, new students exited the RecPlex, finally able to experience just what’s so special about UD as the newest generation committed to learning, leadership and service.
As the marching band’s upbeat music reverberated throughout UD Arena at Saturday’s new student orientation, cheerleaders led the largest first-year class in school history through the cheer they’ll chant the next four years — and beyond.
“Go, Dayton Flyers. D…A…Y…T…OOO…N! Dayton Flyers. Go UD!”
Changing tempo, the band performed the UD anthem, the words rolling slowly across big screens.
The four-day orientation is as much about tradition and pageantry as it is about new beginnings. It culminated today with students reciting the academic honor code and participating in a pinning ceremony at a formal convocation presided over by faculty donned in caps and gowns.
At Saturday’s kick-off welcome event for students and their families, Father Jim Fitz, S.M., talked about UD’s oldest tradition — the Marianist philosophy of education that found its roots in the French Revolution.
“Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (founder of the religious order that sponsors UD) lived in a time like ours of transition and turmoil,” said Fitz, vice president for mission and rector. “It would not be hard for me to prove that we still live a world much like that of Blessed Chaminade — Gaza, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Ferguson, Missouri.”
Fitz encouraged students, in the Marianist tradition, to search for truth, think critically and imaginatively, and work for the common good.
“We believe in building community across diversity. In a world that experiences violence and hatred, we need people who can build community and bridge differences,” he said.
“If we are at our best, you will learn to be a community builder and you will be stretched to identify and use gifts you never knew you had.”
While many members of the Class of 2018 moved to campus from a few hours away, some come from much closer — or farther — than others. This afternoon, as a part of New Student Orientation, both commuter students and international students participated in meet-and-greets, each complete with icebreakers and ice cream.
Joe Milton ’17, a student leader for the NSO Commuter Student Welcome, said that commuter students comprise about 28 percent of this year’s first-year class.
“Our main goal for the commuter student welcome is to get students to interact with each other and to encourage them to seek on-campus jobs and clubs. We want them to know that conversations with their on-campus peers don’t have to stop at the topic of housing,” Milton said.
As a commuter student and a music therapy major, Jennifer Meier ’18 said participating in marching band has helped her dive into the UD community.
“I’m most excited about getting involved with more musical groups on campus. I play five instruments, but I’d really like to join a vocal group here,” Meier said.
Similarly, NSO leaders also encourage international students to find clubs and groups that interest them. International students can also visit the Center for International Programs and participate in trips sponsored by the International Club.
Tian Tian ’18, a business major from China, said she’s most excited about the intramural sports on campus.
“I’m looking forward to getting involved with sports, because I didn’t have time to participate in sports at school in China. I’d like to learn how to play lacrosse, but volleyball also sounds fun,” Tian said.
Whether students come from near or far — or somewhere in between — the UD community welcomes them.
There is no better time to be an engineer.
“The Class of 2018 is the most accomplished incoming class in the history of the University of Dayton,” said the new dean of the School of Engineering, Eddy Rojas, when he addressed students and their families on Saturday, Aug. 23.
Rojas, previously the director of the Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was appointed this year to continue 103 years of education in the School of Engineering, succeeding Tony Saliba ’81.
He gave families an overview of the school their students are about to enter. With five undergraduate engineering degrees, four undergraduate engineering technology programs, 13 master’s programs and five doctoral programs, the School of Engineering was recently re-accredited in 2011 by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), commenting on the school’s “excellent faculty and students, quality and innovation of teaching and scholarship and outstanding facilities.”
In addition to holding 25 percent of the undergraduate population, the School of Engineering has increased in diversity in the last two years by 4 percent and had been ranked second among Catholic institutions, third in the state of Ohio, and 63rd in nation. The school welcomes 664 new students this academic year.
Just by statistics, it is clear that UD wants its students to succeed. Rojas offered advice on combating the rigorous undergraduate programs to the incoming first-years: study seriously, make wise decisions and don’t be afraid to ask for help are just a few.
“We are on your team, and will be your best support system. We want to take advantage of all the potential we see in the incoming class,” he said. “What we do in the next few years will set the course for the next 100 years.”
This evening, students, faculty and staff gathered at UD Arena for New Student Orientation festivities. The Class of 2018 got a taste of the UD community with a pep rally and a performance of the UD Anthem, but President Dan Curran welcomed them with a challenge to build that community even stronger.
“You have a responsibility in the community to make it better. You are all now community builders. It’s a commitment: You’re part of something bigger,” Curran said.
Curran reflected on this past basketball season, when coaches, players and fans represented the University by showing their pride respectfully during the Elite 8. With an emphasis on respect, Curran challenged students to look out for themselves and one another, including stepping up when someone needs help and making the right choices throughout the next four years.
But the President didn’t forget about the most important part of the UD community. The students were guaranteed four years of fun, with a support system of faculty, staff and fellow students to give them guidance.
“You come in with many questions. It’s not our job to give you the answers. We will work together to come up with answers. And I guarantee you’ll have fun while you’re here,” Curran said.
After convocation this morning and ice-breaker games this afternoon, this year’s freshman class is ready to step up to the challenge.
Devin Joss ’18, an undecided science major from Youngstown, Ohio, said he chose UD for its sense of community, but also for the opportunity to grow here.
“I’m excited to meet new people and find out what the UD experience is all about. All of the upperclassmen have been welcoming so far. I also want to broaden my horizons and take advantage of all the opportunities here,” Joss said.
Cars lined the parking lot, bags and boxes filled the rooms, a mix of excitement and nerves filled the hearts. This was the sight around 10 a.m. on Saturday when thousands of first-year students arrived on campus, their new home away from home.
The University welcome an estimated 2,205 first-year students this year, the largest first-year class in our history.
Walking through Marycrest, this writer saw plenty of new faces, but I recognized the familiar Flyer Spirit right away.
One family traveled more than 12 hours from Fairfield, Connecticut, to settle their daughter in early that morning.
Another first-year engineering student, Cory Heatwole, sat quietly alone in his room reflecting on the next four years — what by popular opinion will undoubtedly be the best four years of his life. He arrived at campus on Friday to take part in the honors student welcome, prepared with an open mind.
“We did some ice breakers, toured campus, played jeopardy in Kennedy Union, and did a picture scavenger hunt,” he said. “It’s been great so far, but I don’t feel like I know enough about campus to have a solid UD bucket list just yet.”
That’s okay, he still has plenty of time for first hellos and new experiences. However, an important goodbye will come before the weekend’s over.
“My parents have done well so far since we’ve gotten here, but my mom cried a few times before we even left home,” he said.
As hard as it may be to watch families drive away on Sunday morning, there are plenty of resources that first-year students can turn to for support.
Camp Blue, a group specifically made to help first-year students adjust to campus life, is one of those resources. Many blue shirts could be seen in Marycrest as they welcomed families and helped unload cars.
There was also a red shirt, a blue shirt and a grey shirt. Those belonged to seniors Tim Skillen, Ryan Saul and Griffin Lineham, who just wanted to lend a helping hand.
“We have a friend who is in Camp Blue (a leadership camp for first-year students), but we’ve helped out on our own almost every year,” they said. “We see a lot of confidence, a lot of nervousness, a lot of excitement. But we also see a lot of new students just grateful for our help.”
Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, they’re in good hands.
This fall, alumni communities across the U.S. will host new student picnics to welcome the latest crop of undergraduates into the Flyer fold. Faced with the largest number of incoming students to greet, the Dayton chapter takes a slightly different approach: They pitch a tent, hang a banner and reassure students — and their families — that they’re on the right path to Marycrest. (Or Stuart. Or Founders.)
“We’ll be set up in Central Mall by Kennedy Union. Look for the people having too much fun,” said Gloria Marano ’88. The group will be distributing cold drinks and offering directions — to RecPlex, or Milano’s, or Kroger, or to an alumnus in their same field of study.
“We get a lot of questions from parents, usually with ‘deer in the headlights’ looks,” Marano explained. “We want them to know we’ve been there, and they’ll be OK. They’re part of the Flyer family now.”
Golden Flyers Armand Martino ’55 and Sally Payne Martino ’55 have volunteered with Drinks and Directions for the past 12 years. “We enjoy it because everyone is in such a good mood and is happy to be there. One of our T-shirts said, ‘The first day of the best years of your life.’ It’s such a good feeling to be part of that day,” they said.
About 35 volunteers are slated to help with this year’s event, which runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is part of a coordinated New Student Orientation schedule that prepares both students and their families for the college transition, from meet and greets with campus staff to Mass and a pep rally in UD Arena.
“It’s good for parents to see alumni involvement,” Sally added. “It speaks well of the University that so many of us are still very involved even after so many years.” Marano agreed, noting that the group frequently introduces new students to alumni from their same academic area — meaning many students have a networking connection before they’ve even unfurled their bedspreads.
And after they’ve made their beds? The Dayton alumni community has one more treat. “We will also be personally delivering gifts to the dorm rooms of some legacy students — freshman of UD alumni — as a special welcome to them,” Marano said. “We are all Flyers and forever Flyers.”
We buy clothes, books, office supplies — even flowers for our mom — alone online. But is there a financial domino effect when all of our business takes place in the cloud?
That’s what junior Brian Bates, a finance and operations management major, is researching. As one of 11 students to participate in the 2014 Berry Summer Thesis Institute, Bates spent 12 weeks working with a faculty mentor before presenting his initial findings at a July 31 professional conference-style forum. The institute is named for the Berry Family Foundation, which provided a grant for its formation. (Students are shown here with John Berry.)
“You no longer want or need to see, or touch, or smell the flowers when you buy them,” Bates said. “They’re in the cloud. How is this ecommerce changing shopping structures? Will shopping centers continue to be the central areas of communities? Or, will they move to distribution centers, where it’s the retailer’s responsibility to get products to the customer, instead of the customer seeking them out?”
Luke Bugada, a chemical engineering major, studied DNA replication in bacteria, while Stephanie Loney read hundreds of short stories about coming-of-age in America before drafting her own. American studies and art history double major Krista Bondi visited other Catholic universities to compare their efforts in creating diverse sacred spaces for an interfaith campus to that of UD’s.
“In the past five years, UD’s population of undergraduate students identifying as non-Catholic has risen from 20 to 27 percent,” she said. “How does our University respond to this changing demographic in terms of religious spaces? Clearly, the UD mission statement calls the institution to be responsive.” Unlike other schools, Bondi found, UD has carved out specific religious spaces for both Catholic and non-Catholic students, as well as cultivated open spaces where interdenominational worship and meditation can occur.
One area Bates focused on was the landlord-tenant relationship, pointing out that the real estate market is being impacted by a rise in ecommerce. Many stores pay a base rent for their space, plus a percentage of total sales. If ecommerce sales are reducing the number of in-store sales, the landlord sees their rent revenue decrease as well.
Why are in-store sales down? While some landlords thought prettier shopping centers would make a difference, Bates found that customers’ mentalities are changing.
“When someone wants an entertaining shopping experience — to go out with friends and family, try on clothes — they tend to visit areas of prime location, like outdoor malls. When you need an item out of necessity, you’re more likely to use the outdoor platform, because it’s more convenient and often cheaper,” he said, noting that stores of poor location — shopping areas with more than 80 percent vacancy — are often the ones offering mostly necessity items, creating a spiral of economic struggle.
Although the Berry Institute has ended, students’ research won’t. Bates hopes to turn his ecommerce observations into more definitive claims by creating two different statistical models.
Whether it be a colorful banner with powerful words or eye-catching postcard with exciting images, the work of student designer Alexa Hines is sure to grab the attention of the many, many people who walk around campus.
Hines, a senior majoring in graphic design, has always liked art and took every art class she could in high school.
“Out of all of the art classes I took, I really enjoyed graphic design and figured it would more marketable than fine arts, so I decide to pursue it,” she said.
Pursue it she has. This summer Hines spends her mornings working as graphic design intern for Dayton Children’s Hospital and her afternoons as a student graphic designer for University marketing.
“Working as a graphic designer will likely require me to work within a brand. I enjoy working with two brands now because it gives me broader experience,” Hines said.
Hines has found working for two brands and targeting her work to different audiences to be fun but challenging. She has encountered a few other challenges on the job as well.
“I have had to learn about Adobe Creative Suite since I only took one graphic design course in high school, but my bosses and professors are helpful and will answer questions if I have them,” she said.
When Hines is not working, she enjoys spending time with family, rollerblading and playing with her dog.
“My mother is also a Flyer. She loved it here so she brought me for a tour, and I fell in love with the campus,” she said.
Hines is always proud and excited to see her finished projects (see photos below) up around the campus she loves.
“I recently finished working on a banner that surrounds UD’s chapel that provides facts and headlines related to the chapel and University during the construction phases of the chapel. The opportunity to bring the University’s campus to life with bold colors is something that I am very thankful I get to participate in,” said Hines.