YSU students settle in to residence halls

University officials expect residence halls to be filled to capacity.



YOUNGSTOWN — Move-in weekend can be the beginning of a tough transition for first-year students, said Bill Sperlazza, the student housing director at Youngstown State University.

But sometimes it’s tougher for the parents.

In his more than 30 years as housing director, Sperlazza’s seen his share of “helicopter parents,” the term popularized to identify hyper-involved Generation-X parents who “hover” over their children.

Involved parents are generally beneficial to all parties, Sperlazza said. But natural protection instincts can cause problems when parents start taking over tasks that should be left to the new student, he said.

Parental interference with roommate disputes or class registration are the classic examples, he said.

“I’ve even had parents get involved with furniture arrangements in the room,” he said.

An early start

Housing supervisor Jon Unger said he began dealing with anxious parents even before move-in weekend opened Friday.

“I had a parent call me earlier this week completely choked-up over her son,” Unger said. Her concern: “He doesn’t know if he’s going to have a good time and make friends.”

Unger referred the parent to a resident adviser who is trained to handle the problems that can arise during a student’s first time away from home, he added.

The housing department makes every effort to make new students comfortable, Sperlazza continued. Dozens of student volunteers were on hand Saturday to assist students and parents with their moves. An entire weekend of welcome activities is planned. Classes begin Monday.

“Many of these kids, it’s their first time away from home, and it ain’t like home here,” Sperlazza said. “We do everything we can to make them feel at home.”

New Kilcawley House residents Andrea Bonadio, 19, of Mentor, and Stephanie Rechart, also 19, of Brook Park, seemed to be adjusting gracefully. They had finished unpacking and turned their attention toward socializing.

“You keep your door open to meet people,” said Rechart, adding that she and her roommate had kept the door open all day Friday and Saturday.

Neighbor Bridget Hubbard, 19, of New Waterford, laughed and agreed.

Tough for some

But the women’s parents were another story, they said.

“My mom cried like a little girl,” Hubbard said. “You feel bad because you’re not upset.”

In her single day of independence, Hubbard said, her mother has been calling her “every two minutes.”

Freshmen were invited to begin unpacking Friday and most first-year students were moved in by Saturday evening. The university is expecting to fill its four residence halls to maximum capacity of 822, Sperlazza said.

Today will be a big move-in day for returning students, Sperlazza added, especially at the honors hall, Cafaro House, he said.

So, it was the end of the line Saturday for mothers such as Anna Weigand of East Liverpool, who moved her 18-year-old son William Lash into Kilcawley House. She and her husband, David, plan to say their goodbyes over dinner at a local restaurant.

“I miss him already,” she said.


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