move-in 2023

Volunteers greet the incoming Class of 2027 at Iacocca Hall on the Mountaintop Campus.

Class of 2027 Moves In, Receives Festive Welcome

More than 1,500 students join the Lehigh family this week.

Photography by

Holly Fasching '26

Videography by

Alan Sylvestre Media and Marcus Smith '25

By Mary Ellen Alu and Christina Tatu

Early Thursday morning on the Mountaintop Campus, Lauren Ferreira '27 posed for a photo with family behind white, waist-high Lehigh letters–a freeze-frame moment as she joined hundreds of incoming first-year students in the excitement of Move-In Day.

“It’s a very proud moment,” said Ferreira, a first-generation student. “My parents immigrated here [from Brazil], and their one dream was to give their daughters what they never had, which was an education. We made it happen. … “It’s just a dream come true.”

Under a light rain, streams of first-year students made their way into Iacocca Hall, where they received keys and orientation packets, before heading to their assigned residence halls on the Asa Packer Campus to unload their bedding, clothes and other belongings and set up their rooms. Volunteers in red or white T-shirts greeted them–some offering high-fives, some waving oversized foam fingers, others cheering.

Ferreira arrived from Connecticut with older sister, Tiffany, a recent Fordham University graduate, and parents Andrea and Welington. “Very bittersweet moment because we’re so happy for this new chapter in her life,” said Tiffany, adding that her sister had worked so hard to earn a scholarship to attend Lehigh. "We're so very happy," said her mother.

Ferreira admitted to feeling some flutters at the prospect of leaving behind her sister and parents and starting her studies in computer science. “I’m very family-oriented,” she said. “They’re my base for everything. It’s going to be a little hard but we’re just two hours away.”

This year’s incoming undergraduate class includes 1,541 students, some of whom had arrived on campus earlier this week. The undergraduates come from 39 different countries, including India, Japan and Vietnam, and 48 different states. They will be joined by nearly 500 new graduate students.

Incoming first-year students received a lively welcome.

Evan Younge arrived from Illinois, a two-day drive with his parents, three younger siblings and two dogs to pursue studies in engineering. With the family towing a U-Haul, Younge made sure to bring with him some cherished items—his acoustic and electric guitars.

“There’s a lot going on. I feel like right now, there’s not enough time for emotion,” he said with a laugh, then turned introspective. “I feel I’m setting a huge example for my other, younger siblings. The next oldest one, my sister—she didn’t show a whole lot of interest [in dropping him off at Lehigh]. But earlier in the car, she said, ‘This is cool. I can’t wait to go to college.’ ”

Younge’s mother, Shelby, said Lehigh had felt like the right place for her son, almost from the minute he had stepped onto campus for a visit. With Evan the first of her children to leave home for college, she was preparing herself for the “big separation” and feeling, she said, a mix of emotions–sadness, but excitement for him too.

“I’ve been very involved. My kids are everything,” said Shelby, adding that she had coached her children in sports, been “room mom” in their younger grades and vice president of their school’s parent-teacher organization. “So [feeling] sad,” she acknowledged, but remembering her time at Cornell University, quickly added, “But college was the best years of my life.”

Ozzie Breiner, director of housing services, said Lehigh hopes to make the transition easier for the students and their families by helping with the process on Move-in Day.

“Our first-year students and their parents arrive with a great deal of excitement, but they also bring some anxiety,” he said. “The move-in process is a great opportunity for us to welcome those students to the Lehigh family and show them that a whole lot of people care about them being here.”

He said it makes a lasting impression when students see faculty and staff volunteering, especially when they see President Joseph J. Helble ’82, the college deans and other administrators directing traffic or carrying student belongings.

“It says, ‘We’re all here to pitch in and welcome you to our family,’” Breiner said.

Marc Orent ’27 arrived on campus at 8:30 a.m. from central New Jersey. His mother Rasa Orent was emotional as she hugged him in front of McClintic-Marshall House. “He’s my baby,” she said, as she embraced him and teared up. Marc will be her first child in college.

Orent will study mechanical engineering and said he chose Lehigh because it “offers the best of all worlds,” from location, to academics, reputation and its picturesque campus with historic buildings set into the hillside of South Bethlehem.

“I’ve been waiting for it to kick in,” he said of the new college experience. “I’m sure it won’t be until that first night alone that it will hit me.”

Lehigh’s MOOV (Made of Our Volunteers) representatives were back this year to help the new students—directing traffic, unloading cars and delivering students’ belongings to their rooms. The volunteer program, a longtime staple of Move-In Day, had been put on hold during the height of the pandemic. Volunteers returned to campus for the first time since the pandemic began last year.

This year brought out 1,300 volunteers, including 150 faculty and staff volunteers, who helped at activities throughout the week, Breiner said.

At Taylor House, a steady stream of student volunteers helped parents and first-year students unload their vehicles and carry their belongings up the stairs and into the residence hall.

Parent Matthew Burbick from Grafton, Massachusetts, had his entire truck unloaded by student volunteers within a few minutes. After driving six hours over the past two days to make it to the Asa Packer campus, Burbick said the help was much appreciated.

He was excited for his daughter, who is his first child to attend college and will be studying chemical engineering. “You just do your best to raise them right and then leave the rest up to God,” Burbick said.

Volunteer Shaan Singh ’25 was among the many Greek Life members unloading vehicles at Taylor House and McClintic-Marshall House. “I love the experience of Move-In Day,” said Singh, who, along with his classmates, missed out on the full move-In experience because of the pandemic, but now got to experience it as a volunteer. “I love seeing new faces on campus and being able to go up to people and say, ‘hi’ when I see them around later. It’s always a good thing to be nice and helpful.”

Natalie Blee ’25 also wanted to volunteer after missing out on the experience her first year.

“I didn’t get the help on Move-In Day in 2021 because of the pandemic,” she said. “It took so much longer and was more difficult. This has been so much smoother.”

Hannah Gould ’25 agreed and said the experience created a warm welcome for new students. She and Blee were at Taylor House by 7:30 a.m. to help with the moves.

“It’s so great to see the community come together,” Gould said. “It’s very welcoming.”

Photography by

Holly Fasching '26

Videography by

Alan Sylvestre Media and Marcus Smith '25

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