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  July 30, 2001

More Husky Volunteers Needed
to Help Out with Moving In

Arriving on campus for the first time, new students are nervous and confused, their parents harried and uncertain, eager to see a friendly face. A smile and a little help can go a long way.

Enter the Husky Haulers, volunteers from the campus community who stand ready and able to offer directions and advice, answer questions and discuss campus life. And, of course, to help haul computers and VCRs, stereo systems and CDs, clothing, books, and posters.

"It's a great way to build community spirit, and to let new members of the UConn family know we're pleased and excited to have them here," says Dennis Dion, benefits manager in the Department of Human Resources and a veteran Hauler.

The three-year-old program, known as Husky Haulers, appears to have peaked at about 100 volunteers, including about 35 members of UConn fraternities and sororities who brand themselves The Greek Moving Company, says John Sears, a residential life staffer who coordinates the popular program.

So Sears, besides his traditional efforts to lure faculty and staff to the streets of Storrs, this year is introducing a variation on the theme - Adopt-A-Hall - giving various campus departments the opportunity to work together as a group at a particular residence hall.

"Besides welcoming nervous parents and new students to campus, and helping them get their bearings, the Adopt-A-Hall program will build camaraderie, make the day's efforts more fun, and offer departments a chance for some team-building," Sears says. "We also hope it will make people feel more comfortable and, consequently, more willing to volunteer."

The value of the program has never been in question, say Sears and other members of the community who have hauled in the past.

"The Haulers offer a real nice touch," says M. Dolan Evanovich, associate provost for enrollment management and an experienced Hauler. "It really personalizes the process of moving in, of making the transition to college. And people love it."

UConn administrators, from President Philip Austin through the ranks of chancellors and department heads, also have joined in the effort during the program's first three years and they, too, have heard the appreciation of parents and students.

The Adopt-A-Hall Program, Sears says, will bring individual departments to residence halls that either house a number of students in a particular discipline - volunteers from the School of Fine Arts, for example, could bring a team to Buckley Hall, where many art and music students live - or to a location close to a department's offices - University Communications staff, for instance, plan to adopt Shippee Hall, just two doors away on Route 195. Different residence halls may need different numbers of haulers and helpers but, Sears says, in most cases a total complement of about 10 volunteers would be effective. More, of course, is better, he adds.

Sears says there are 40 residence halls that will house new students this year, including six at Northwest Campus, an all-freshman complex with about 100 upper-classmen as mentors. Students who will live in Northwest move in Thursday, Aug. 23, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Haulers are needed for that move.

Then, on Saturday, Aug. 25, the more than 2,000 other new students move onto campus, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. And that's when the Haulers are especially needed - to direct traffic near drop-off points, watch students' belongings while cars are moved, or serve as information officers. Team leaders, usually volunteers who have hauling experience, will be designated at each site to answer questions, give haulers tips on various aspects of the job, and direct them to areas where they are needed.

"Individual volunteers, as well as departmental teams, are welcome at any hour," says Sears. "People need not miss volunteering because they can't stay for the entire period - any amount of time is more than appreciated."

Volunteers will receive a Husky Hauler T-shirt, and Jorgensen Auditorium has agreed to give each Hauler a two-for-one ticket coupon for a performance of his or her choice. Box lunches and refreshments also will be provided during the Saturday move.

Departments or individuals interested in joining the effort should contact Sears at (860) 486-3430.

Richard Veilleux