Volunteers, Staff, President Help Comets Settle In at Residence Halls

  • Dr. Richard Benson, UT Dallas president, chatted with electrical engineering freshman Anant Kanungo, his mother, Savita Kanungo, and youngest brother, Aarush, who also wants to come to UT Dallas.

UT Dallas freshman Anant Kanungo was impressed when enthusiastic volunteers helped him move into Residence Hall West on Aug. 17. But he didn’t expect the added bonus of being personally welcomed by the University’s president.

Dr. Richard Benson, the fifth president of UT Dallas, quickly put Kanungo at ease by telling him he was also new to the campus. Benson arrived in July from Virginia Tech, where he was dean of the College of Engineering.

“I’m a freshman, too, just like you. So we’re both brand new,” Benson told Kanungo, an electrical engineering major from Coppell. “I’m still figuring out the best places to eat.”

“Sounds like you have your priorities right,” Kanungo responded with a grin.

More Than 1,900 Freshmen in Residence Halls

Their encounter took place as Benson was making the rounds during Freshman Move-In, an event held over three days to help more than 1,900 freshmen settle into their residence halls. UT Dallas will house about 4,700 students on campus this year in residence halls and apartments.

During Freshman Move-In, more than 1,900 students settled into their residence halls. Watch the video here.

As he greeted incoming students, Benson also posed for selfies and chatted with student volunteers in Residence Hall West’s Living Learning Communities. Students in these communities take classes together and live in the same wing to help them connect socially and academically.

“You live here, so anytime they need a little help, you’re here? That’s great,” Benson said to peer advisors in the Living Learning Community for the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

Shukra Seshadri, a finance junior and a peer advisor, was happy to see the new president greeting students.

“I’m really glad he’s involved. It’s nice to see that he’s so friendly and approachable,” she said.

Parents of new freshmen voiced appreciation for the staff, faculty and student volunteers who unloaded each car and pushed bins of students’ belongings into the residence halls. Within about 15 minutes, they had everything unloaded in students’ assigned rooms.

“You have it really set up here, with carts and all. It’s being done really well,” said John Shannon of Friendswood as he was helping his son Scott settle into his room.

“This is awesome. We love it,” said Eric Robinson of Granbury, who had brought his son Jeffrey, a mechanical engineering major.

Move-In Is a 'Fine Art'

Matt Grief, associate vice president for Student Affairs, said the move-in help is just one of the services UT Dallas provides for its students.

“Families love it. They don’t have to do anything. They get up to the room and it’s already set up. We’ve finally got it down to a fine art,” Grief said.

Ryan White, assistant vice president for Residential Life, said the University has been intentional about easing the transition for incoming students and their families.

“This is just a way to welcome folks to campus. When they make the choice to come to UT Dallas, we want to honor their commitment to us,” White said.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].