University of Miami: Energy, excitement greet new ’Canes arriving to campus


“It’s great—to be—a Miami Hurricane!”

Echoes of enthusiastic chants bounced off the walls of the Lakeside Village Expo on Tuesday, welcoming the newest ’Canes arriving from all over the globe to the University of Miami Coral Gables Campus.

With move-in week officially underway, the first-year students and their families arrived at the centralized check-in location to receive their University identification cards and confirm their registration for ’Cane Kickoff—a weeklong orientation program organized by the Department of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement, set to welcome 2,820 new students to the University this week.

University President Julio Frenk and Patricia A. Whitely, senior vice president for student affairs, greeted students and their families at the check-in stations, followed by visits to Stanford, Mahoney, and Pearson residential colleges throughout the morning to greet students as they unpack their new living quarters.

Whitely said increased collaboration between the Division of Student Affairs, ’Canes Central, UMIT, Facilities and Operations, and several other departments across campus led to a reimagined opening procedure for new students and families through an expedited check-in process and improved communications to ensure a seamless arrival at the University.

The new process, which included new measures like asking students to submit photos of themselves for their IDs before arriving on campus in order to prepare cards in advance, proved successful as students and families swiftly made their way through the Lakeside Village Expo.

For first-year students living on campus, the University also offers Cruise Ship Move-In—a service provided by University and Student Services that transports students’ belongings from their car to their new room efficiently and effortlessly.

“We’re excited to be in person and provide a more interactive experience to support the students this year,” Whitely said, noting that this is the first entirely in-person move-in and ’Cane Kickoff week since fall 2019. “We have 225 different events for students to attend and learn about the U, our community, and our many resources available to them.”

Heather Sluka, a first-year student arriving from Titusville, Florida, is no stranger to the University of Miami. Joined by her parents, alumni Cindy and Robert Sluka, and her sister, Sarah Sluka, a junior at the University, Heather is excited to start her own journey as the newest ’Cane.

“We would visit the campus all the time growing up, and I always thought it would be so cool to attend the University of Miami,” she said. Her parents met at Pearson Residential College while they were students. Now, almost 30 years later, they returned to move their second daughter into the adjacent building, Mahoney Residential College.

“I’ll start crying if I talk about it too much,” Robert Sluka said. “It’s just so great to see them both flourishing on their own journeys at the U,” Cindy Sluka added.

At Stanford Residential College, Frenk and Whitely excitedly greeted new students, as well as returning Housing and Residential Life (HRL) student staff, like senior Daniella Montalvo.

A resident assistant (RA) at Stanford for three years, Montalvo was excited to finally have the opportunity to meet Frenk as she begins her final year as a student and RA. Montalvo snapped a photo with the president, Sebastian the Ibis, and her fellow HRL colleagues before returning to work welcoming the new students.

“In my entire time here, I’ve never had the opportunity to take a photo with President Frenk. It felt like a full circle moment on the first day of my senior year. Today definitely checked a box on my final year bucket list,” said Montalvo, who is studying biomedical engineering.

First-year student Emmie Krzyzewski Savarino of Durham, North Carolina, spent Tuesday morning with her parents preparing her room in Mahoney for the upcoming year. She is most looking forward to starting her classes next week as she begins her journey toward a career in sports. “I want to work in the sports industry like my mom does, so I decided to study sports administration,” she said. “I just got [to Miami], but I already love it here.”

High school friends Geras Stavals and Will Skinner, from Baltimore, Maryland, spent the afternoon getting ready for their new chapter at the University. Joined by their families to assist in the move, Stavals and Skinner are eager to attend orientation week events—and scope out the best Cuban food in Miami. “We’re focused on getting settled into our new room and making it out to as many events as possible,” Skinner said. “And of course, getting some good Cuban food,” Stavals added.

Megan Green, who arrived this week from Texas, and Clara Foulon, who joins the University from China, greeted each other with a joyous hug when the two arrived at their shared room. The pair connected through social media before deciding to live together and had not met in person until move-in day.

“We’ve talked a lot online, so we were really excited to finally meet each other today,” Green said. After finalizing their new home setup, the pair spent the afternoon having lunch and visiting the campus Vendor Fair, which took place on the Lakeside Patio Tuesday afternoon, for last-minute purchases for their new room.

Move in for returning students continues through the remainder of the week. Orientation activities for new students proceed throughout the week leading up to the first day of classes on Monday.

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