Student volunteers, staff ‘go bananas’ to help newest residents

Aug. 23 was move-in day on the South 40 for incoming students. Moving some 1,700 new students (freshmen, transfer and exchange) takes a lot of planning and resources.

To get things started, a caped Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton led upperclass student volunteers and university staff members in an early-morning pep rally, which included singing the “Go Bananas” song, on the Clock Tower Patio. many upperclass student volunteers and staff members helping with move-in get energized by the ‘Go Bananas’ song. Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and wife, Risa Zwerling Wrighton, lead the charge.

From there, everyone rapidly disbursed to welcome new students — providing directions, carrying belongings, chatting with family members and passing out chocolate chip cookies.

Through the unique WUSA (Washington University Student Associate) program, all incoming students are paired with upperclass peer mentors. WUSAs help, not only with move in and orientation, but also meet weekly with the new students for the remainder of the academic year.

Coordinated through WUSTL’s First Year Center, the program is uncommon among universities. WUSAs help new students find their niche, academically and socially. The volunteer position requires many hours of time, but, nonetheless, 300 students vied for 85 WUSA spots, viewing it as an opportunity to give back.

WUSAs are among a team of people who help make the transition to the university as easy as possible. team from many areas of campus works together to make move-in as easy as possible for new residents.