Dr. John A. Edwards, vice president for Enrollment and Student Services at The University of Texas-Pan American, rolled up his sleeves and got right to work helping members of the Class of 2012 move into their dorms Friday, Aug. 22 during the annual Bronc Move-In Days.
Edwards along with numerous UTPA employees welcomed nearly 730 students to their new home by pushing carts filled with their furnishings, carrying boxes and helping them settle into University life, which starts Monday, Aug. 25.
It has become a UTPA tradition every fall semester for members of the University community to sign up and assist new Broncs in their move, which continued through Saturday, Aug. 23.
To make moving on to campus a smooth transition for students and parents, Edwards said having UTPA employees and current student leaders help with the process is important as it shows UTPA wants them to have a pleasant University experience.
"I think it is very important that our staff and administrators are out here. This says a lot about our campus because they (students) are moving into a new community and it shows them that people care about their well-being," he said.
Edwards said he hopes all the new campus residents take advantage of all UTPA has to offer from the Wellness and Recreational Sports Complex to the student organizations and athletic events.
"My advice to students is to study hard, meet people, learn about the campus, get involved in activities, and just become part of the University community," he said.
One new resident who plans to get involved is Homer Zepeda of Harlingen, who plans to major in premed and one day become an emergency room doctor.
"I'm definitely planning to join a fraternity, get a job as a work-study, and just take advantage of all that UTPA has to offer me," Zepeda, who moved into Unity Hall, said.
Zepeda, who graduated in May from South Texas Academy of Medical Technology (Med Tech) in San Benito, said UTPA was his first choice when deciding where to go to college.
"It was close to home and I heard a lot of good things about it from my teachers," Zepeda said. "To me, it made sense moving here to live on campus because I was not going to have a car and I will be able to get to my classes earlier."
Homer's mother Norma Lilia Zepeda, who took the day off from work to help him move in, said living on his own will be a good experience for Homer, even though for her it will be an adjustment not having her son at home, who is the first in their family to go to college.
"I had not thought about it until now that he won't be home with me. He will be learning to make his own decisions and be more independent, and like I told him he also needs to start thinking a little more mature because you can't always be childish," Norma Lilia, who plans to visit Homer once a week, said.
For Alba Cavazos of Weslaco, attending UTPA is a family tradition that her daughter, Alba J. Cavazos, is continuing. Alba J., who graduated from Weslaco East, is the third member in the Cavazos family to attend UTPA. Alba herself earned an education degree from UTPA while her son graduated under the UTPA/Baylor Premed program.
"We are just a little excited and nervous at the same time about her moving away, but we are proud of her and we know that she is going to do well," Alba said.
The Cavazos family said they compared prices among other universities and found UTPA was the most affordable that offered an excellent education at low price.
Since Alba J., who will major in biology with the hopes of becoming a physical therapist, wanted to experience college life, her parents decided to let her live on campus in Unity Hall to receive the total university experience.
"I'm still close to home, but the living on campus experience is still going to be there. It is definitely going to be interesting and fun. I will be closer to the University so that I can get around campus faster, and not have to be drive across town to get here," Alba J. said. "I think I made a very good choice coming here and I looking forward to a great semester."
Rebecca Gadson, assistant dean of students and director for Student Involvement, said spaces are still available for students interested in experiencing campus living. Gadson said she encourages students to take advantage of the convenience of living on campus.
"Living on campus is a great way to make friends, get connected to University resources, take advantage of campus life and save money on the cost of transportation," Gadson said.
The Residence Life Office will continue to take housing applications for those interested in campus housing and there is no deadline to apply.
The University currently offers apartment style housing in the Bronc Village Apartments for faculty, staff, and students who are at least 21 years of age. The Unity and Troxel Halls offers students a traditional style residential experience that includes opportunities for shared governance, community involvement, and participation in a number of programs and activities.
For more information on residence life, visit http://www.utpa.edu/reslife/ or call 956/381-3439.