New Brenau University student Abigail Wengerd checks in with her parents at the Brenau Trustee Library on move-in day 2019. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
New Brenau University student Abigail Wengerd checks in with her parents at the Brenau Trustee Library on move-in day 2019. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Students move onto Gainesville campus ahead of school year

Aug. 21, 2019
Kathryne Davis
A group of freshmen are guided around Brenau University's Gainesville campus on move-in day 2019. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

A group of freshmen are guided around Brenau University’s Gainesville campus on move-in day 2019. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

With the summer coming to an end, new and returning students traveled to Brenau University’s Gainesville campus Wednesday, Aug. 21, to move into their residence halls and sorority houses for the start of a new school year.

For some students, the trip to Brenau wasn’t far at all. Tanner Booker and her mother, Beth, made the short trip from Oakwood, Georgia, to Yonah Hall. Tanner participated in Brenau’s Medical Scholars program as a junior in high school and fell in love with the university.

“I liked how open the teachers were when answering our questions,” Tanner said. “They were so willing to show us how everything worked. A lot of the students were in the classroom helping us, talking to us. How open they were drew me to Brenau more.”

Tanner is Beth’s first child going off to college and like many parents, she’s proud of her daughter for starting her college career.

“We’re still close enough that it’s convenient if she needs us,” Beth said. “It just so happened that Brenau was the perfect fit for her and luckily it was close.”

Tanner’s roommate, Alina Vanthooft, drove a little over an hour from Marietta, Georgia, with her parents. She was looking for a smaller university and decided Brenau would be a good place to go to continue her education.

“I thought Brenau was really pretty and it felt comfortable and welcoming,” she said about her experience visiting the campus for the first time.

Alina is an only child, so this is the first college transition her parents have experienced, and they are also preparing to have an empty house.

“It feels like somebody is leaving us,” Alina’s father, Jos, said. “We’re excited about her going to college. We’re going to stay in touch with her and make sure she sees it through emotionally as well as academically.”

Two returning Brenau University students and orientation leaders cheer as first-year students move in to the Gainesville campus on Wednesday, Aug. 21. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Two returning Brenau University students and orientation leaders cheer as first-year students move in to the Gainesville campus on Wednesday, Aug. 21. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Many students at Brenau come from beyond Georgia, including Bianca Andersen, who made the trip with her family from Twin Lake, Wisconsin. Andersen plans on majoring in interior design and will be a member of the tennis team.

“I’m looking forward to finally being able to study what I want to do,” Andersen said. “I want to go into the residential field and be able to design homes.”

Although Andersen is far from home, her parents are joining her in Georgia to get away from the Wisconsin winter. Her father is already working in Georgia and her mother is planning on moving next week.

Each fall, returning students who have been through the move-in and orientation process sign up to help newcomers. Senior Cierra Franklin from Albany, Georgia, is in her third year of being a peer assistant and this year helped residential students check in at the library.

“My favorite thing about being a peer assistant is being able to watch the freshmen grow,” she said. “When they come here, they’re shy, some of them are nervous, even if they’re extroverts. They don’t know all of the ways they’ll change during the semester, so it’s interesting to watch their stories unfold.”

Franklin fondly remembers her freshman year move-in and uses the experience to help others.

“It was great,” she said. “I was really nervous. I wanted to make a great impression and make new friends. It was important for me to be involved. During freshman move-in day I was really emotional as well because I didn’t know what to expect.”

Wednesday also included an orientation to help newcomers learn more about what to expect during their first year at Brenau. An opening ceremony followed with welcoming remarks and a formal address by Brenau President Anne Skleder, Provost Jim Eck and other university faculty and staff. Orientation activities will continue for first-time students over the next two days.

As of Wednesday, total enrollment across all Brenau campuses was almost 2,700 students. Approximately 450 are new Gainesville day students, 151 are first-time students from surrounding Hall County, Georgia, and nearly 100 are new international students. Enrollment will continue to fluctuate as registration continues until Aug. 30.

“We are so excited to welcome the largest number of incoming students in several years,” Skleder said. “It is so energizing to be a part of a university that is an extraordinary combination of a historic women’s college and an innovative, comprehensive university that is constantly evolving to meet the changing interests of its students and needs of society. Today at Brenau, we have programs through the doctoral degrees on the historic campus as well as at regional campuses and online to ensure a wide range of students are able to access our high-quality, world-relevant education.”

General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6299 or +1-800-252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6100 or +1-800-252-5119 ext. 6100