Students move in, bringing new life to Penn State Behrend

Liam Duffy took the right side of Niagara 205. He hoped his roommate wouldn’t mind.

Move-in day brings a million decisions: Bunk the beds? Share the router? Hang the Evgeni Malkin jersey or the Fleury?

Duffy had come from Concord Township, Ohio. He’d made two visits to Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, before enrolling. Now he has his own bed here.

His parents, Pete and Cathy, helped make it, smoothing a new plaid comforter into place. “You always start with the bed,” Pete Duffy said. “If you don’t, you won’t have room to work.”

Luke Slater tucked a trombone beneath his bed, in Niagara 309. He’ll play in the campus jazz ensemble this fall. His mother was handing him shirts, helping to fill the dresser, when he noticed a new one, red, with the Sea-Doo logo on the front.

“What’s this?” he asked her.

Just a gift, she said. There was another in the next pile.

“Cool,” he said. “Thanks.”

Move-in is a chance to rebrand, a fresh step onto an open social map. It’s not a total break from home – moms were in all the residence halls Aug. 22, hiding drier sheets at the bottom of clothes hampers – but it is a vast new land to navigate.

Alex Ferrari gets that. She came from Castle Shannon, hoping to study plastics. She’s one of more than 1,100 new students, the second-largest class in the history of the college. She wants to be here – 73 percent of this year’s freshmen listed Penn State Behrend as their first choice within the University – but it was work, getting all the clothes and totes and soaps and photos in order.

Her father helped.

“I am a little nervous,” she said, watching him step through boxes. “But this is good. As soon as I walked in, it felt real.”

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Last Updated August 26, 2013