The Class of 2013 moves in

November 30, 2009
Alethea Duncan
 

The long line of cars, once allowed to enter the quad, inches slowly along the side of East Campus. Curving around near Baldwin Auditorium, the cars come to a stop in front of Pegram dormitory. With the engine idling, freshman Stephen Castiglione and his mother, Lorayne, pop out of their sport-utility vehicle. Out of the driver's side comes Thomas, Stephen's father, who meets a silver-haired man in a Duke polo shirt. The man shakes his hand. "So have you been circling this block for, like, an hour?" he asks.

Lorayne says that they've only been waiting for about twenty minutes. The man offers up a witticism about "cracking the code," and moves on. President Richard H. Brodhead has a busy day of meeting and greeting ahead of him.

Meanwhile, Thomas pulls the car away. All of his son's belongings, stacked by the curb, are being carried in by a small detachment of FACs, first-year advisory counselors. Clad in identical purple T-shirts, they are move-in day's heavy lifters, walking up and down three flights of stairs all morning, making sure that the only baggage family members of the new students will be carrying is of the emotional variety.

Two floors up from where the Castiglione family is arranging the standard-issue bed, desk, and dresser, Charles West Jr., his sister, Amber, and his mother, Rolanda, are almost done unpacking. They started driving from their home in Columbia, South Carolina, at 3:30 a.m., Rolanda West says, and Charles West Sr. (like Thomas Castiglione and many other fathers) is off parking the car.

As she's explaining this, she puts a framed photo collage of her son and his family on the bed. "I had to put some put some mom into it," she says.

Her son's roommate, who is part of an ROTC program, has been on campus for some time. Before arriving, Charles Jr. called him using Skype, the Internet-based phone and video-chatting service. He asked him take his laptop around, sending Charles streaming video so he could get a feel for the room's dimensions.

Some students used the Internet to scope out classmates, too. One freshman said she had made no fewer than sixty friends prior to move-in day. Annie Osborne and Corinne Merriman, down the hall on the second floor, met the old-fashioned way at Blue Devil Days, a program for admitted students. They coordinated their packing lists by sending messages back and forth online, but one extra item still showed up—the Osborne family dog, Rocky.

Because dogs aren't allowed in East Campus dorms, she will have to postpone living with him again. Would she ever have Rocky for a roommate? "Maybe, like if we got an apartment or something later, but I don't think my mom would be able to part with him since she's already parting with me."

Down the hall, Kalman Chapman and his mother, Margaret "Peggy" O'Driscoll Chapman '83, are just getting started. Peggy lived in Trent Hall when she was an undergraduate and remembers move in being more chaotic. "I was on the third floor, and the elevators, of course, were out of order. So my parents and I had to carry pretty much everything upstairs."

This time was a different story. "I think I carried up some pillows and a mattress pad, which was great," she says. And that left plenty of time for unpacking and setting up the room.

Her son did most of the packing, but he doesn't know what, exactly, his mother may have added to the mix. "Hey, mom," Kalman says, "is there anything in here that I'm not gonna use?"

"No, you're going to use absolutely everything," she says.