A heat index nearing the 100s did not deter the influx of eager first-time and returning Pirates who arrived on campus Aug. 21 to move into residence halls for the fall semester. Move-in was set to continue through the weekend with classes starting Aug. 26. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Pirates stream into residence halls for fall semester

Aug. 21, 2014

By Crystal Baity, Grace Haskin and Steve Tuttle
ECU News Services

A printer, TV, mattress topper, bags full of clothes and an extra-large bin of shoes surrounded the Cotran family outside of East Carolina University’s Garrett Hall Aug. 21.

Their daughter was among the first of approximately 5,400 ECU students to move on campus before the start of classes Aug. 26.

Lauren, the second youngest daughter of Meg and Joe Cotran, from Toms River, New Jersey, said she fell in love with ECU’s campus when she saw it for the first time during orientation. She decided to come to ECU after conducting online research and finding North Carolina’s climate and ECU’s school spirit to be just what she wanted.

ECU student Lauren Cotran prepares to move in with her mother Meg and father Joe.
“I have a son in New Zealand, a daughter in the Army and a 16-year-old daughter at home,” said Meg, sporting an ECU shirt she bought during orientation to show her pride.

“I think my husband is looking forward to having an empty nest soon, but I’m going to miss my children terribly.”

Lauren will study psychology at ECU with plans to become a psychiatrist one day.

Lauren said she would miss her friends and boyfriend, Ryan, who is in Navy boot camp. “It’s going to be different because I’m going to have to go out and meet new people,” she said. She hopes to make friends in the Student Pirate Club and possibly by joining student government.

Joe, carrying a TV in one hand and canvas bags in the other, piled Lauren’s belongings on every available surface while Lauren began strategizing where she would hang a collage.

“I’d like to say it’s going to be quieter at home, but she’s so quiet already. I am going to miss her smiling face,” said Joe, fighting back tears. “It’s tough. I don’t want to think about it.”

 Arriving from closer to home Thursday was Naquan Jackson of Elizabeth City.

Jackson and his dad, Timothy, were inside Jarvis Residence Hall, while his mom Deneen, sister Nashauna Stallings and nephew Samier Stallings took a short break outside.

“You don’t really expect for this moment to come, but it’s here,” said Deneen Jackson. “I’m excited he’s here but sad I have to leave him here.”

The Northeastern High School graduate plans to major in art with a concentration in graphic design. He has been drawing since he was 5 years old. “I just finished a project – something to put in my room,” he said. “My strong suit is art but I want to learn all kinds of things, like video.”

Taking a break from the moving work on the hand truck is Samier Stallings, nephew of incoming student Naquan Jackson, left. Jackson was with his father Timothy, center, and mother Deneen.

Jackson’s 6-year-old nephew hugged his uncle’s leg as he talked about the past few months and the move to Greenville. “I’ve spent time with my family – as much as I could. And I did my summer reading. I’ve just been enjoying my time in the city before I leave.”

Jackson was already familiar with campus because his first cousin graduated from ECU two years ago. His family is glad he’s less than two hours from home. They anticipate several road trips for football and basketball games beginning his fall, said his father, Timothy. “I’m happy he’s moving on to becoming an adult, and I’m looking forward to his next four years and watching him grow.”

Another Pirate, Tate Peterson, is the 13th member of his family to attend ECU. He was accompanied by his parents, Darren and Lisa Thompson, and his 7-year-old brother, Landen.

Tate, who plans to study health fitness at ECU, said he is looking forward to having more responsibilities living away from home. “I’m not really sure what to expect, but I’m looking forward to school,” he said.

“Landen is excited for ECU football season,” said Darren. “Tate was an athlete in high school, so we’re used to always being on the field, but now we’ll have ECU sports to look forward to.”

“I might play club baseball,” said Tate, as he held the door open for his parents who were carrying the last load of his belongings. “I also like to rock climb, so maybe I’ll do that here, too.”

Darren Thompson, left, and Landen Thompson carry ECU student Tate Peterson's supplies into Garrett residence hall.
Cotran, Jackson and Peterson are among approximately 26,880 total students at ECU, said Associate Provost for Enrollment Services John Fletcher, in what appeared to be a slight drop in enrollment for fall semester due to declining numbers in graduate school.

A preliminary count showed this year’s freshman class will be around 4,300 compared to 4,495 last year, Fletcher said. About 16 percent of those freshmen are from out of state, he added. The number of transfer students is up slightly with about 1,640 expected this fall compared to 1,328 last year.

Students will benefit from several safety features added to campus this summer.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Virginia Hardy said 53 new exterior lighting fixtures were installed around main campus and existing lamp fixtures received energy-efficient LED lights. “ECU is becoming a more pedestrian friendly campus so we want to be sure we have a safe place for students to walk,” she said.
Families arriving at Jarvis residence hall were greeted with balloons and an open door.

Another Pirate Express bus route has been added to provide safe transportation for students between downtown and neighborhoods near campus. Also 46 “blue light” emergency phones recently received upgrades. ECU now has a total of 147 emergency phones on campus – 84 on main campus and 63 on west campus.

Keeping students safe is the number one priority for ECU Police, said Lt. Chris Sutton. An additional 16 to 20 campus police officers will be on patrol during move-in and the first few weeks of the semester.

Officials will stress to students the importance of simple precautions, such as securing bicycles or book bags, being mindful of surroundings, walking in pairs or large groups or using the ECU Transit system, Sutton said.

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Video by Cliff Hollis