The Fall 2021 semester is off on a high note as residential students moved into their new campus homes. Excited students began their Plymouth State experience with logistical and heartfelt assistance from family, friends, and numerous University offices and programs.
First-year and transfer students have come from across the USA, including 25 states and Puerto Rico. All six New England states are well represented, with New Hampshire and Massachusetts leading the way. An international contingent hails from 10 foreign nations, including Bermuda, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
The most popular major among newcomers is “undeclared,” which isn’t unusual. “If students aren’t sure what they want to focus on, our Integrated Cluster learning model will help them decide,” says President Donald Birx. Business is the second most popular major, and criminal justice, allied health sciences, and nursing are in an almost three-way tie for third place.
Students and their entourages were invited to stop by the HUB’s Fireplace Lounge, where an “Empty Nest Reception” included snacks, information on Plymouth State’s family portal newsletter, the Loop, and a writing station for parents to send personal snail mail to students. The reception provided an opportunity to debrief on the move-in experience and savor the moment.
Keith and Brandy Pelkey of Clintonville, NY, are truly empty nesters now, as their one child, daughter Jordyn ’25, is now at home in Blair Hall. “Move-in was exactly what I thought it would be,” said Jordyn, who plans to major in nursing. “As soon as I got here, I wasn’t nervous at all, just really excited.”
“We went by the checklist and the tech insights and it made everything pretty painless,” said Keith Pelkey. “We also got a lot of good information out of the parents’ Facebook group.”
“I am excited, I am ecstatic, I’m going to miss her because she’s my best friend,” said Brandy Pelkey. “She’s going to thrive and it’s a great school, and everyone’s been so welcoming and nice.”
Laurie Shepherd is another empty nester, now that youngest child Cameron ’25 has moved from his hometown of Franklin, NH. “The move-in was fine,” she said. “We got a little lost at one point, but we figured it out. I’m looking forward to him enjoying his Plymouth experience and all that it has to offer, including the academics, the social life, and the intramurals.”
Cameron is currently an undeclared major but is leaning toward secondary education. Move-in was relatively easy for him. “I’m a guy, I don’t have a lot to bring in,” he explained with a smile, adding that he plans to take advantage of the University’s work-out facilities and club sports.
“Move-in was incredible,” said Rob Woltag of Wilmington, MA, whose son, David, participated in the University’s Ascent program. “He’s been raving about it,” said Rob. “He’s met so many kids already, he feels much more comfortable, about where to go on campus and where things are, and he says everybody’s been super nice and friendly. He feels like part of a family in week one of college.”
“It was amazing, the move-in experience,” agreed David. “I met a lot of people and had a good time.” In addition to studying criminal justice and participating in the University’s ROTC program, David looks forward to living in Geneva Smith Hall and enjoying great nearby skiing come winter.
As the fall semester gets underway, students have the full campus experience that Plymouth State is known for, including in-person classes, athletics and arts events, student activities and residential life programming, and personalized, face-to-face service from administrative offices.
Pandemic safety and health protocols have been modified, in response to the region’s current positivity rate and best practice recommendations from state and federal experts. Mask and testing requirements will be reevaluated as the semester progresses and PSU has planned for potential eventualities. The University’s COVID-19 website, plymouth.edu/coronavirus, has the latest information and will be updated regularly throughout the year.