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New look, new vibe as Move-In Day approaches

August 19, 2016
a car packed with stuff with the words UofR Bound painted on the rear windowMore than 1,400 students will arrive on River Campus this year as the new Class of 2021. (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

When more than 1,300 students from the Class of 2020 move in this week, they’ll see a River Campus that’s undergoing a transformation in more ways than one.

The key to that transformation is the renovation of a 60-year-old dining hall that has been turned into a center of undergraduate life. The Frederick Douglass Building, scheduled to fully open early in the academic year, will be a center for campus life that includes new dining options, increased meeting and event space, and new language and intercultural centers.

“It will be a place where all students can meet and connect around both academic and cultural topics, and I believe it will be a hub of activity on the River Campus,” says Richard Feldman, dean of the College.

The renovation of Douglass is one of several projects under way as the academic year begins.

Construction Updates

construction scaffolding around stadium press box
This summer has been one of the most active construction periods of all time on River Campus. Multiple new facilities and improvement projects are wrapping up, while others are still in progress.

Welcome, Class of 2020

Orientation team leaders
Orientation team leaders get ready to greet the newest College and Eastman students.

There is also renovated space on the ground floor of Wilson Commons and improvements to the Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center and Rush Rhees Library. Work continues on Wegmans Hall, the 58,000-square-foot future home to the Goergen Institute for Data Science. A 72,000 square-foot residential hall that overlooks the Brian F. Prince Athletic Complex will house 151 freshmen when it opens in the fall of 2017.

At the Eastman School of Music, historic Kilbourn Hall has undergone a $700,000 renovation. The 444-seat hall is the primary location for Eastman’s faculty, student, and guest recitals and plays host to the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival and the First Niagara Fringe Festival.

But the campus transformation isn’t all about bricks and mortar.

Significant curricular changes include two new majors in dance, and a new Citation in Community-Engaged Scholarship that will be open to all undergraduates regardless of major.

In addition, the University community can expect to see final recommendations from the Commission on Race and Diversity early in the semester, as well as continued efforts from the “We’re Better Than THAT” antiracism campaign.

“All of these changes are with the intention of strengthening and broadening opportunities for students so they may take full advantage of an undergraduate experience that is interest-driven, engaging, and in the spirit of Meliora,” Feldman says.

The incoming College class of 1,368 comes from 49 states (all but Alaska) and 90 countries. The undergraduate enrollment on the River Campus is approximately 5,300.

International students began moving into the Student Living Center at Eastman on Sunday, with domestic students coming Wednesday. There are 140 undergraduate and 111 graduate students.

More than 400 international students and close to 100 family members will arrive on the River Campus on Monday, with the remaining 900 undergraduate students following on Wednesday.

International students make up more than 20 percent of the College undergraduate student body, and China tops the list as leading country of origin with 28 of its 34 provinces and territories represented.

The transition for many international undergraduates began in July as University officials traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, and Seoul for pre-departure orientations led by Joe Testani, executive director of the Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center.

“We have a strong community growing in Korea and China, and our Career Center is taking an active role in helping to foster and leverage those connections,” says Molly Jolliff, director for international student engagement.

Classes begin August 31 in the College and at Eastman. Laura Ballou, assistant dean of student life operations for the College, is eager to begin a new academic year after one of the busiest summer construction seasons in memory. She believes the tandem of Wilson Commons and the renovated  Douglass building will be welcomed by undergraduates.

“Those buildings will provide a new center for student life on campus to support the growth in our student body,” she says. “Since the building of Wilson Commons in 1976, this is the largest construction project to directly impact student life.”

Move-In Day Flashback

What should you expect during Move-In Day? Pep bands, a cappella ensembles, long lines, and helpful students ready to unpack cars at lightning speed. Check out last year’s Move-In Day festivities to get a taste.

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