The cars lined up early outside the University of Houston’s Cougar Village residence hall as the first round of student-residents checked in to their new on-campus housing. The move-in effort will continue through Saturday, with more than 6,000 students living either on campus or in partner-managed student housing complexes adjacent to campus.
“It seems to be a record year for us, we have over 4,000 students signed in to the residence halls on campus, “ said Kenny Mauk, associate director for housing operations and outreach. “We are at 100 percent occupancy with a waiting list, so living on campus is exciting this year.”
Given that UH ranks third in the state for the number of students living on campus, it takes a team to make that transition smooth. A group of 300 “Cougar Movers,” a volunteer group of faculty, staff and students, will be helping students unload their cars and get moved in through Saturday. The university has scheduled a staggered move-in, with 200 students arriving each hour.
“The Cougar Movers are helping students unload their vehicles, manning water stations, handing out snacks and anything we need them to do,” said Mauk. “It’s a phenomenal call.”
UH expects to not only enjoy its highest achieving freshman class to date with the average SAT scores up from last year, but also the largest enrollment ever. Final enrollment figures won’t be known until a few weeks into classes, but Jeff Fuller, UH’s director of student recruitment, said he expects the number of students to exceed 40,000.
“It’s infectious, just being on campus and seeing the excitement here,” said Fuller. “It just makes people want to be a part of University of Houston— whether that means a parent being proud of their son or daughter going to school here, or somebody being proud of a friend coming here— the university community is such a great place for welcoming students.”
Freshmen like Anna Kraft and Josh Litton were among the first of their class on campus, and both are excited about getting settled on campus.
“I am most excited about being out on my own, experiencing new things and meeting new people,” said Kraft
“It’s going to be fun,” said Litton. “I like my room and everything. I met my roommate, he’s cool, and I came for the first orientation and met a bunch of friends there.”
Various university student groups are hosting on-campus events through Sunday to help students meet each other and get engaged in campus life. UH student Jessica Grono volunteered as a Cougar Mover, but also came with an important message to new Cougars.
“Successful students get involved,” said Grono, a member of the student program board.
Fuller said the growth of on-campus residential life, and the increasingly competitive profile of incoming freshmen are in line with UH’s Tier One mission.
“I think it will definitely help graduation and retention rates, test scores and, hopefully, making sure students are having a great first year when they get here as well.”
The first day of class at the University of Houston is Monday, Aug. 27.