Story by KEVIN LYON, for The Muleskinner / Photos by ANDREW MATHER, Photo Editor
Move-in day can be overwhelming for incoming freshmen and their families. Traffic is crowded and the dorms are filled with excited students and worried parents.
Mule Haul is a way that UCM helps out on move-in day. “There are around 700 students on both sides of campus,” said Emily Bergsieker, Mule Haul director. “There are two shifts of students, some working from 8 a.m. until 11 and the rest from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.” This was Bergsieker’s fourth year directing the Mule Haul. “There are so many organizations that volunteer for this, and it makes Move In Day so much easier,” she said.
Everything from ROTC to Greek organizations to Catholic Campus Ministries showed up at 7:30 a.m. Sunday to get ready for the move-in. “It’s hard to wake up this early,” said Brittney Turner of Alpha Phi Omega. “I got here 30 minutes late and it’s still too early.” Brandon Godfrey said this was his first year volunteering for the Mule Haul and said, but “it’s a really cool thing. It’s also not nearly as hot as it was last year.”
Everyone working Mule Haul was happy about the weather. “It was raining when I moved in,” Anna Nabzdyk of Catholic Campus Ministries said. “That was not a lot of fun.” The drought that struck central Missouri this summer finally had a good result, because the brutal humidity that can sometimes go along with move-in day was nowhere to be found, especially in the morning. “We’re in the shade,” Joe Elwell of Theta Chi said. “That’s gonna make this a good day.
Some of the most recognizable faces from around campus and around Warrensburg were out helping move people in. UCM President Charles Ambrose spent the morning bouncing between the east and west sides of campus, stopping to talk with dozens of people along the way, including a quick photo with the UCM football team, which was also helping move people in.
State representative Denny Hoskins helped the Honors College Dean Joseph Lewandowski move people into the Houts and Hosey dorms. “I wasn’t in the honors college when I was in school,” Hoskins said with a smile, “but its good to be able to help everybody out.” State Senator David Pearce helped too, and joked with Hoskins about being there just for the publicity. “Yeah, he’s not into promotion at all,” Hoskins quipped back. “Can I help you out, could you take a picture?” he joked
Even with state senators, representatives and deans present, the work of moving everything that an incoming freshman brings their first semester is not an easy task. “Ugh, the refrigerators,” said Zach Heagy of the Navigators, a Christian ministry group. “I hate those.” Most were glad that they either got to leave early or they got to wake up late for the 11 to 2 shift. “I’m off at 11, thank goodness,” said Hayden Soph of Sigma Phi. “This is a nice thing to do, but it’s getting hot.”
The Mule Haul team carried everything from futons to microwaves to enormous carpets. “The parents love it,” said Alex Stueckel of Delta Zeta. “They want this to be over with as quickly as possible.” The main thing that surprised the Zetas about move-in day was how many things were simply thrown out at the end of the year. One of them joked that dumpster diving would be a great sisterhood exercise.
The Zetas were working outside of Yeater and South Yeater, and several of them were seniors who would be doing this for the last time. “It’s bittersweet, seeing this,” Ashley Dolan said, “but it’s also great to help out freshman, just like we got helped out.”
“I wish I had had this when I moved in here my freshman year,” Joe Elwell said standing in front of Fitzgerald Hall. “My dad parked us out behind in the student parking lot and we ran everything in ourselves. Fitzgerald also doesn’t have elevators, so that was even more of a problem. “This is so much better it’s not even funny.” He also mentioned that a car had broken down in the middle of the road. “The radiator was just smoking out everywhere. We had to push it out of the way or else it would have stopped traffic.”
“We got to get up at 6:45,” said Cody Schindel, a community advisor in East Ellis. “That was fun. At least they gave us free orange juice.” Kait Allen, another Ellis CA, said, “At least I got to help people move in by just showing them where their rooms were, not by carrying anything.”
The perks of being a Mule Hauler are not just a free T-shirt and water. They also get to move in early. “It’s definitely nice being able to move in early,” Levi Osborn said. Osborn was working with the Honors College, and got to move into his room in Houts on Friday instead of on Sunday, missing all of the frenzy that comes with move-in day.
Beyond move-in day, the groups that help out at the Mule Haul help students become more engaged with the people around them and the college they are attending.