Four women standing around a rolling bin
Daynija Davis (center), a first-year arts student, moves into Rhodes Hall, helped by her mother, Keena Shanklin, and aunt, Mydeia Shanklin. (Photo by Kevin Morley, University Marketing.)

Thousands of new and returning students move in at VCU

VCU is expected to enroll nearly 4,200 freshmen this fall.

Share this story

Assisted by her parents — wearing VCU MOM and VCU DAD t-shirts — Saige Richardson is rolling a cardboard cart stacked high with possessions into Rhoads Hall, her new home as a first-year Virginia Commonwealth University student.

“I’m most excited to meet new people in my dorm and in my classes,” Richardson, who is majoring in art education, said as she entered the 18-floor, high-rise residence hall. “I already know a few people here, and I’ve met a few people online who are also going to VCU. We hung out a lot over the summer, and I've made some new friends.”

As she starts her journey at VCU, is Richardson nervous about anything? “It’s not so far from home – we live in Hanover, so only 20 minutes up the road – but I’ve never lived anywhere other than home before. Also, I’m kind of nervous about the workload because I’ve heard high school is a bit different than college.”

A woman holding a fold up chair pointing to the left while looking at a woman next to her
Jennifer Beane (left), a first-year business student, moves into GRC. (Photo by Kevin Morley, University Marketing.)

Richardson’s mom, Lori Priddy, said they’re thrilled and proud to see their “last baby girl” leave for college.

“We’re feeling good. She’s ready. She’s worked hard and I’m excited for her,” she said. “She has great things ahead of her. So we’re good to go. We’re ready to see her fly.”

Richardson is one of nearly 4,200 first-year students starting at VCU this fall. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, new and returning students and their families are lining the streets of the Monroe Park Campus for the annual move-in weekend, moving in mini fridges, TVs, boxes of snacks, piles of clothes and all manner of creature comforts they’ll want and need for the new academic year.

Daynija Davis, a first-year arts student from Spotsylvania, moved into Rhodes Hall on Thursday, helped by her mom, Keena Shanklin, and aunt, Mydeia Shanklin.

“I’m looking forward to meeting all the people and the classes I’ll be taking,” she said.

Her aunt, wearing a T-shirt with photos from her niece’s high school graduation — including one of her graduation cap covered with the words “Alright, on to the next: VCU” — said she’d given Davis the advice: “She can do and be anything she wants to be. It’s going to be a good ride. And I hope she has lots of fun.”

A woman pushing a bin with pillows coming out of it with another woman next to her and a man behind her.
Sarah Nedjar, a freshman biology major, left, moves into GRC with the help of her brother, Abbas Nedjar, and sister, Malika Nedjar, a junior biology major. (Photo by Kevin Morley, University Marketing.)

Across campus, at Gladding Residence Center, freshman Sarah Nedjar was moving in with the help of her family, including her sister, Malika Nedjar, a junior biology major.

“Yeah, I’m just that nice,” Malika joked.

Like her sister, Sarah will be studying biology. Her sister has been showing her around, including where her classes will be located.

“I'm kind of nervous, but I feel like it’s also comforting having my sister close by,” she said. “But it’s exciting having a new start, especially in the city. It’s a new beginning and there’s lots to explore.”

A man putting a bag in a box between two younger people holding items in front of a vehicle with the trunk open
Arthur Beane helps his daughter Jennifer Beane, a first-year business student, moves into GRC. (Photo by Kevin Morley, University Marketing.)

Also moving into GRC was Jennifer Beane, a first-year business student from Roanoke.

“I’m excited to be here,” she said, as she and her family unloaded an SUV and filled a bin to roll into the residence hall. “I feel very welcomed.”

Beane said she is most excited to start the semester, meet new people and explore Richmond.

“Exploring this city and eating food is at the top of my list,” she said.

Up on the ninth floor of GRC, Omair Islam, a first-year business student from South Riding, was taking a break from moving in. He said he was excited to live in Richmond and had already made some new friends from VCU’s new student orientation over the summer.

“I’m most looking forward to making more connections and getting to network with more people,” he said. “And getting a platform ahead of myself and starting my future.”

When asked if he had anything to add about starting his journey at VCU, Islam replied: “Yes, go Rams!”

A woman and man pushing a car with items in it. Next to them another woman is pushing a cart in the opposite direction.
Omair Islam (left), a first-year business student, moves into GRC. (Photo by Kevin Morley, University Marketing.)