Carrying bedspreads, mini-fridges, and mementos from home, the Grambling State University campus was swarming with new students, parents and relatives. Elrick Truvillion, of Dallas, was among them.
Shawanda Truvillion held bags of food and bottles of water bottles for her son. Despite feeling sad that her son was leaving home, she said she’s excited about the opportunities. “Grambling is a good experience to teach my son,” she stated. “We just hope everything he needs for her future is here.”
President Frank G. Pogue is happy that Truvillion chose Grambling State. “There are 105 HBCUs institutions in the United States and, among all those, they chose to come to Grambling ….and that means something to everybody here,” said Pogue, who greeted students as they unpacked and moved in. “This is Grambling State University. We take a lot of pride in that name and hopefully the class of 2017 does, too.”
According to university officials, about 1,600 students moved into Pinchback, Wheatley, Attucks and Bethune halls. That’s about 50 fewer than last year at this point. “Hopefully we’re going to be well over 1,600,” said James Payne, the university’s director of housing.
An army of university administration, faculty, staff and student volunteers started helping students unload boxes, bags and hampers, helping the new students carry them to their dorm rooms. Returning university students with the Student Government Association (SGA), Favrot Student Union Board (FSUB), fraternities and sororities were among the helpers. “I was in their shoes two years ago,” chuckled Dominick Wilson, Rayville, president of the engineering club. “We’re here to help them any way possible.”
“This is going to be their home away from home for the next few years, why not help,” he added.
Connie Walton, provost and vice president of academic affairs who attended and graduated from Grambling State a few years ago, said the start of the new academic year is “an exciting time because it indicates that we have the opportunity to shape another generation of students.”
Students said they’re looking forward to taking college courses, meeting new friends and making the most of their college experience. “I’m excited,” said Kimini Black, a Los Angeles native who wants to major in business marketing. “I can’t wait to meet my dorm mates. I haven’t met them yet.”
Bossier City freshman Kierra Rochelle took courses on campus this summer so she’s learned something about the campus and the area, but it’s time for the real school year. “I can’t wait for school to start,” said Rochelle who plans to major in biology. “I’m not really nervous at all.”
Cory Hill, who plans to be a mass communications major, said he’s getting settled so he can “take advantage of everything this school has to offer.”
The university hosted welcome activities last week, including a block party ice cream social and a 90s party to help students get to know each other and have some fun.
“What I hope freshman are hearing is how important it is for them to be at Grambling and how important it is to complete their work and serve the world in magnificent ways,” said Pogue.