(JACKSON, Miss.) – More than 1,000 students and their families from across the country arrived on the Jackson State University campus Aug. 11 for JSU’s annual move-in day.
“I see lots of smiling faces,” said JSU sophomore Shontrice Garrett, who was among the scores of volunteers who helped new students carry their belongings into residence halls. “We’re here to give tips about where things are on campus and help people get settled.”
Students from states including Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi arrived at residence hall drop-off locations, where they where greeted by dozens of enthusiastic Jacksonians, including JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers.
As vehicles pulled up in front of dorms, JSU coaches, administrators, staff, students and alumni loaded students’ belongings into rolling carts and carried suitcases and pillows into their rooms.
“I was prepared to move my own things,” said LaDonna Williamson, a freshman social work major from Detroit. “I didn’t have to move a thing.”
Williamson said she always wanted to move to the South and was excited about attending a Historically Black College or University. She said she was also looking forward to rooming with her cousin, freshman music education major Chelsie Coleman of Byram. The pair met for the first time earlier this year at Coleman’s high school graduation.
“We came down in May to surprise her,” said Williamson’s mother, Vernessa Brazelton, adding the trip cemented her daughter’s decision to attend JSU.
Coleman’s mother, Brenda Allen-Coleman, who along with her husband is a JSU graduate, said she’s happy her daughter decided to attend her alma mater. Her daughter earned a vocal scholarship, plays the saxophone and will march playing the piccolo with the Sonic Boom of the South.
“I never dreamed my child would go to Jackson State,” Allen-Coleman said. “But it’s been her dream to be in the band since she was 6.”
By late morning, Allen-Coleman was ready to start decorating the young women’s room with zebra stripes and lime green accents. To help with the décor, the cousins both brought their zebra and penguin Pillow Pets from home.
“It’s going to look great when I’m finished,” Allen-Coleman said.
Freshman biology/pre-veterinary major Jared Adams of Decatur, Ga., arrived with his mother, Angela Adams. Though it wasn’t her first time dropping off a child at JSU – her eldest son Justin is a JSU senior this year – she said it was going to be tough to say goodbye.
“This is my baby,” she said. “He’s going to be so far away.”
Still, Adams said she felt good about having both of her sons at JSU. The young men are third-generation Jacksonians and have been attending JSU football games since before they were born.
“We’ve been coming down since I was pregnant,” she said. “We come to Homecoming every year.”
Jared Adams, who was also accepted to Clemson University and Louisiana State University, had mixed feelings about leaving home.
“I feels kind of good,” he said. “But it’s bittersweet.”
JSU move-in day kicks off the university’s Welcome Week, which runs through Sunday, Aug. 19. Welcome Week activities include workshops, social gatherings, community service projects and orientation sessions. The first day of classes is Monday, Aug. 20.
For a complete list of Welcome Week activities, visit: http://www.jsums.edu/announcements/jsustudentorientationfinal.pdf