It’s that time of year in Charlottesville again. Traffic on the Corner is bumper to bumper, students and their families are scrambling back and forth from car to dormitory, and University of Virginia Grounds has come back to life after a long, hot summer.
First-year move-in began on Thursday. And while students were given a set time for unloading vehicles to reduce traffic, there was traffic nevertheless.
It’s hard to avoid when thousands of first-years have been moving in every day.
UVa admitted admitted some 9,189 students into the class of 2027 this year. That’s of the record-breaking 56,439 people who applied.
“There are approximately a little over 2,000 students moving onto our Grounds into the first-year dorms starting yesterday and then today, and then tomorrow, so a little over 2,000 each day,” Christopher Easton, UVa assistant chief of police, told The Daily Progress amid the hustle and bustle on Thursday.
As in years past, local motorists have found McCormick Road, Alderman Road and Emmet Street to be the most congested.
“A lot of people come to Grounds ready to start the school year, ready to get back in the swing of things,” Easton said. “There’s a lot of people around, and that brings a lot of not only vehicle traffic but foot traffic, people on scooters, people on bikes and other modes of transportation. This is nothing new, we see this every year at this time.”
Though the traffic isn’t any different from previous years, this year’s move-in was: For some lucky students, the Cavalier football team was on hand to provide a little extra muscle.
“I love move-in day,” UVa President Jim Ryan told The Daily Progress, lending a hand alongside the players. “I’m really glad the football players are out here this year, they help a lot. It’s a great day.”
Community service isn’t unknown among Cavs, said Carla Williams, UVa athletic director. But for many first-year students, the appearance of wide receiver Malik Washington or defensive end Paul Akere at their parent’s waiting SUV is bound to make an impression.
“The players do a lot of service. This is just another way for them to do something that they enjoy by helping people,” Williams said.
The team’s help took a load off for incoming first-year student Lili Zevallos and her family, she told The Daily Progress.
“They were really nice, and they walked up and asked us if we needed help with our luggage at the U-Haul, and they just started helping us carry stuff in, and they were very welcoming and just always happy which was nice to see,” Zevallos said.
Linebacker Stevie Bracey said he was happy to lend a little help so that parents and children, many about to say a hard goodbye, could have a little more time together.
“My parents helped me move in, and obviously my parents aren’t as young as I am, so being able to help them [students] out and take some of the stress off the parents — they can just enjoy the moment," Bracey told The Daily Progress. "I know a lot of parents are sad this is the last time they’ll see their baby for a couple of months, so just taking a stress off them, putting it on us so they can just enjoy the moment."
Zevallos said she already feels welcome on Grounds because of the team’s help.
“It was comforting to see someone who clearly had already been here and our future classmates,” Zevallos said. “I’m super excited to be here and have my first year here and everyone looks so nice, and it’s been super exciting to be on campus.”
Moving in is the first day of four (for most) unforgettable years for students, said defensive tackle Jahmeer Carter.
“I remember my first year moving in, and all the people that helped me move in, so being able to give back I think it’s a real honor just because I see the excitement that everyone has and I remember that excitement that I had myself,” Carter told The Daily Progress.
The assistance during move-in served as a reminder that Cavs on and off the field are all one family, said football coach Tony Elliott.
“UVa is one big family, one big team, it’s one big community, and all of us have a part to play,” Elliott told The Daily Progress. “This is just one opportunity for us with our schedule to be able to give back.”
For the players, move-in day was just practice for practice.
“I got a big scrimmage today, so it’s a nice little way for some of the guys to break the monotony of camp and start building the excitement,” Elliott said.
Lawn residents moved in on Aug. 11. Incoming transfer students and returning third- and fourth-year students came back over the weekend. Classes are set to begin Aug. 22.