Dorms open their doors, students settle in: It’s move-in day at Sacramento State

Sacramento State students unpacked their cars and greeted their roommates as they entered their new dorms on move-in day Friday morning.

The day was filled with music, informational booths, and parents dragging luggage up stairs and down halls as students settled in before classes begin Monday.

Nearly 2,200 students will live on-campus this year, the majority of them first-year freshmen. A record 31,500 students are enrolled for fall 2019, and Sacramento State received a record 44,700 applications for fall admission, according to school officials.

The campus got a big upgrade over the summer: The new $91 million, state-of-the-art Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex opens Monday. Home to the chemistry and biology departments, it boasts a planetarium, observatory and labs.

California State University, Sacramento, has traditionally been considered a commuter school, but hundreds of students – local and international – choose to live on campus for convenience.

More than 100 of the students living in residence halls are transfers from other schools, like Jenna Odell, who transferred from Sierra College and plans to study nursing at Sacramento State.

Odell received a scholarship that helped pay for her to live on campus, saving her a 40-minute commute from her Roseville home.

“I am excited to not to have to drive, and I will meet a lot of new people and be close to my classes,” Odell said.

Odell’s parents helped her unload the car and wheel her clothes and plastic drawers in a hand truck up the elevator to the fourth floor.

“We’re happy that she’s not so far from home, that we can’t come see her,” said her mother, Kristen Odell.

Freshmen living in the older of seven residence halls didn’t have the convenience of elevators, lugging heavy suitcases up flights of stairs.

Students like incoming freshman Brianna Elder squeezed past other new students looking for their rooms. Elder, 18, is living in the freshman dorms but came in with Advanced Placement units and is taking classes as a second-year student.

Arriving students were greeted by resident advisers, who helped them find their rooms and get familiar with their new surroundings.

“During the year our role is to be that support for them, and to help them go through their first year of college away from home and sometimes their first time with roommates,” said RA and student Joceylnn Santamaria. “We’re there as a helping hand to get through all of those experiences.”

Many of those moving in were returning students at the university. The former freshmen are leaving the first-year residence halls and moving into apartment-like buildings that house older students.

“I feel like I can have more classes later or earlier, because I don’t have to take that time into account for driving,” said returning student Mady Pineda of El Dorado Hills. “I thought that would help me so I can have an easier schedule.”

All students move out over the summer to save money, unless they apply for summer housing.

Emily Kyle spent the summer at home in Manteca and in Ghana on a university-sponsored trip with the criminal justice program.

“Moving drives me crazy, but I don’t have a job, so I move back in every year,” said Kyle.

“That’s OK,” said her mother, Patty Kyle. “We like her coming home every summer.”

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Sawsan Morrar covers school accountability and culture for The Sacramento Bee. She grew up in Sacramento and is an alumna of UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She previously freelanced for various publications including The Washington Post, Vice, KQED and Capital Public Radio.