First impressions mean a lot, especially if you’re a nervous incoming Clemson University freshman, or the parent of one, and you arrive on campus during the hustle and bustle of move-in day.

Freshman business students had a support network on move-in day.

Freshman business students had a support network on move-in day.

Volunteers from the College of Business took those freshman under their wings as the new students moved into the Community for Undergraduate Business Students (CUBS), a living-learning community in Benet Hall.

The 50 College of Business freshmen who staked claim to their residence hall rooms on move-in weekend were greeted by smiles, a hand with the heavy lifting and reassurance that they soon would be comfortable in calling their new surroundings home.

“Going from home to college is a huge adjustment and amid all the excitement, for some, including parents, there is anxiety. With the help of about 40 of CUBS leadership team volunteers, we try to make the experience a welcoming one,” said Suerea Wooten of the Academic Advising Center, who is director of the CUBS program.

Wooten said the CUBS program has been helping freshmen business students with move-in weekend, and the adjustment to college life, for nearly 15 years. CUBS is a program where students interact socially and academically, and in many cases build friendships that last a lifetime.

Noah Mackey is well-versed in the benefits of CUBS, having been involved all four of his years at Clemson. As a member of the program’s leadership team, this is the third year he has helped move freshmen into their new home away from home.

“One of the things I recall from move-in day was that I only carried one box into my room. Volunteers did the rest,” said Noah, an accounting major and CUBS leadership co-chair who will graduate in May of 2018.”

Having walked in the shoes of an incoming freshman, Noah can speak first-hand of the experience and why CUBS finds the emotional support so important when students, and parents, make the adjustment from home to college.

“Parents often exhibit more angst than the students on move-in day. What we attempt to do is not only provide a helping hand, but bring a positive and welcoming attitude to what for many is a very emotional day,” Noah said.

Noah and Wooten said it’s important to shrink the size of campus by getting students engaged with one another in their first days here.

“Though we have many activities for students to interact throughout the semester, the first few days here are important,” Wooten said. “For many, it’s the first extended period of time they’ll be away from home and it can be lonely, especially if they don’t engage with other students right away. We have a barbecue at the end of move-in day. The move-in volunteers make it a point to encourage students to get to know their residence hall mates from the git-go.”

Jeff Boose, father of incoming freshman Emily Boose, said move-in day was made easier physically and emotionally by the genuine helpfulness of the CUBS volunteers.

“We could not have asked for a better experience,” Boose, of Hillsborough, N.J., said. “It was a stressful day, and coupled with having driven 12 hours the day before, their helpfulness removed some of that stress and made us feel very welcome.”

The volunteers’ help on moving day is only the tip of the iceberg in what the living-learning experience provides incoming freshmen. Throughout the year, the program encourages students to engage in organized events, from workshops to breakfasts with professors, meetings with the dean, community service events, tours of Death Valley, and a variety of social activities with their peers in Benet Hall.

“For nearly 15 years, the CUBS program has been helping freshman acclimate to college life from day-one on campus,” Wooten said. “First-year students will not only find CUBS introduces them to everything Clemson has to offer, in many cases life-long friendships result from the experience.”

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