Nardaiser Harris laughs while receiving her orientation t-shirt at check in. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
Nardaiser Harris laughs while receiving her orientation t-shirt at check in. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Gainesville Campus Welcomes Record 398 New Students

Aug 24, 2017
Kristen Bowman

Mothers hugged their daughters, fathers and brothers unloaded the cars, and a record number of new members of the Brenau University Golden Tigers family were registered Wednesday for the start of the 2017-18 academic year.

This is the traditional “move-in” day at the 139-year-old Women’s College, which represents about a third of the total enrollment of the Gainesville-based university. However, ROAR day, or “Review, Orient, Advise and Register,” brings both residential and commuter students to campus for admission check-in, room assignment and other orientation business prior to the start of classes on Monday, Aug. 28.

Although the new students are mostly freshmen, or first-year students, some of the 398 registered Wednesday were transferring from other colleges or universities. Twenty-eight were men enrolled in daytime courses offered only on the Gainesville historic campus. The university expects the number to exceed 400 by the first week of classes.

“There was a college fair at my school a couple years back, and I fell in love with Brenau,” said incoming freshman Christina Hogg from Lawrenceville, Georgia, as she moved into Crudup Hall. “I loved the photos of the campus, the Women’s College feel, and they had the major I wanted in nursing. I have a friend who already goes here, so she gave me a tour and I just loved the people, the buildings, everything.”

Hogg had the help of her father, John Hogg. “It feels a little weird,” he said. “All of a sudden your baby is going off on her own.”

Incoming freshman Nikoletta Alvanou had a very different experience as she moved into Virginia Hall. The native of Thessaloniki, Greece, comes to Brenau with a scholarship on the swim team. She said she chose to come to Brenau for the opportunity to swim, and to get away from some of the crisis in Greece.

“I arrived at 10 last night,” Alvanou said. “I am nervous about my English, but I am very excited to be here.”

Because Alvanou was moving in without the help of parents and family, she was paired with an orientation leader who helped her find her way. All new students had the help of the Brenau athletic teams, who were stationed at each dormitory to help unload cars, as well as orientation leaders around campus who were prepared to answer questions and resident assistants who helped in their halls.

“It’s super exciting to have our girls moving into the hall,” said sophomore Lauren Hill, the R.A. for West Hall. “It’s great to finally talk to them, hear where they are from, what they want to study. We’ve been decorating for a week now, going through our own orientation and training. We’re really happy to have everybody here.”

Hill’s classmate Jasmine Rolle, who is also an R.A. for West Hall, said it was neat to see how many girls in one hall are from different parts of the world. The resident assistants said they feel well prepared to help the incoming freshmen, having been in their shoes just last year.

“We’ve had fire safety training, conflict resolution training, leadership training,” Rolle said. “We had an array of everything you could think of that we might need. We met with security, with everyone on campus who might help our girls. They thought of every scenario we may go through and prepared us for it.”

Move-in day at Brenau also included an orientation for the residential students and their parents, and an opening ceremony and formal welcome to all students from Brenau President Ed Schrader.

“This is a time for you to really look outward and then look inward,” Schrader said. “Some of you have come a long distance to be here, and some of you have not come far at all physically. But emotionally and intellectually, you have all had a tremendous journey. While you are here, take advantage of all the opportunities available to you.”

Orientation events will continue throughout the week. Wednesday evening includes a “back yard block party” on the sorority circle for new students and student leaders. Thursday offers academic coaching sessions, resource fairs, meetings and campus tours. Friday offers the “President’s Pool Party” at the Chattahoochee Country Club and a “Night of Honor” for the honor court.

In addition to the residential and daytime programs in Gainesville, Brenau offers additional coeducational undergraduate and graduate programs in evenings and on weekends at the Gainesville campus and on other campuses in Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida, and online.