Another Successful Move-in Day Behind Us

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Yesterday, Sept 1, was move-in day, which this year occurred about as early as it possibly can owing to the early date for Labour Day (today). The weather cooperated; despite the previous day (and today) being very damp and overcast, we had brilliant sunshine and clear skies until late in the evening when the thunder and lightning started (perhaps signifying the noise and high energy now unleashed on campus with the return of the undergraduate population and the arrival of new students).

First year students gather outside of residence on the September 1st move-in day.

First year students gather outside of residence on the September 1st move-in day.

My wife and I always do more or less the same thing on Move-in day. For the fifth straight year, we spent several hours walking up and down residence hallways, randomly stopping in rooms to say hello to new students and their families as they move in, answer any questions they may have, and find out a bit about where they are from, and what they are taking. We typically start out at Jean Royce Hall before coming to main campus. We took a couple of short breaks, first to join the mass Oil Thigh in front of Victoria Hall at noon, and then a couple of hours later to grab a soft drink at the Lazy Scholar before tackling the six floors and four wings of Vic, our final stop on the tour. We chatted also to dons, check-in staff, custodians, and the security squads who were directing traffic efficiently.

Queen’s does move-in exceptionally well; I have seen it and indeed participated in it at several other schools either as an administrator or a parent and I think it moves more smoothly here than anywhere else. We received lots of compliments for our staff, both on the move-in and on the pre-move orientations and welcomes that have taken place over the past several months, many of them held outside Kingston. One set of parents whose child had offers from several prestigious business schools finally picked Queen’s Commerce program because of the way their student, and they, had been treated from the point of application to arrival that day. So kudos to every staff member and student involved.Our new students are in single rooms, double rooms, and a few of our triple and quadruple rooms. They come from near and they come from far. We met several from outside the country, many from the GTA, and a whole bunch from the west, especially Calgary. Roughly half of them either have older siblings or parents who are/were Queen’s students. They are studying everything from music to life sciences, commerce to psychology, nursing to engineering. Their rooms are full of duffel bags and suitcases, computers, musical instruments, and the seemingly omnipresent mini-fridges that didn’t exist (like a lot else including the computers) when I arrived as a frosh in Brockington House in 1976, a day I still recall in extraordinary detail all these decades later. It is unquestionably one of my favourite days of the academic year, even though by the end of it Julie and I are typically drenched in sweat and pretty stiff from the stair climbing.

One room we always visit without fail is my old room in Brockington (3rd floor). This year neither of the new tenants were in when we knocked on the door, but we did get to chat with the two female students, and their parents, across the hall (in what I think of as Tom and Pete’s room because that’s who was in it in ’76-’77).

Greeting an incoming student and her parents at my old residence, Brockington House

Greeting an incoming student and her parents at my old residence, Brockington House

This year move-in was a little extra special. The previous evening Julie and I had dinner with 3 new students from Calgary (which city sends us a lot of students and has a very active and well-organized alumni branch). Louisa Kennett, Claire Gummo and Laura Pattison, now all ensconced in their residence rooms, are the children of Queen’s alumni who were classmates and friends of mine and with whom I have been in more or less constant contact for well over 30 years.  Apart from being such a wonderful opportunity to get together with old friends and greet their children, our dinner was yet another reminder of the way family dynasties are created at this university. (One family we met at move-in in fact represented 4 straight generations of Queen’s students!) But we are always starting new family traditions–many of the students yesterday are the first in their family to attend Queen’s (as was I way back when), but we would not be at all surprised if some of the younger siblings who came along for the ride catch the tricolour spirit and join us when their time comes. We’ll look forward to welcoming them at a future move-in.Wishing everyone a happy, fun and safe Orientation week,


Daniel Woolf and Julie Gordon-Woolf

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