10,000 students make quick getaway from the Hill
Samantha Anderson helps her cousin Natalie Morales (right) move out of Rieber Hall. Photos by Christelle Nahas.
Nineteen-year-old Natalie Morales learned an important lesson during her first year at UCLA — foresight. Remembering how "crazy" it got on the Hill when people moved out for winter break, Morales planned ahead and brought most of her stuff home to Van Nuys two weeks ago. The only slight downside was that her luggage was at home, too.
On Wednesday near Rieber Hall, Morales was stuffing the backseat and trunk of a Toyota Avalon with her clothes (still on hangers), her flat-screen TV, linens and other stuff accumulated during the year. But she wasn’t complaining.
"There were no more carts. I got the last one," she said gratefully as she transferred her stuff from her UCLA-supplied, blue-and-yellow laundry cart into the car. "Today was really hectic," said Morales, surrounded by a few dozen other students and their families doing the same thing.
The competition for carts may get tougher on Friday, the last day for nearly 10,000 students living in on-campus housing to leave. But Housing and Hospitality Services (HHS), working together with other service units, does its best to make the move-out as smooth as possible for everyone.
Gulnaz Kiper (left) gets a last hug from a friend before heading to the airport.
In addition to providing the laundry carts, the university makes available professional movers with vehicles and equipment to help students who must haul their belonging to cars parked in distant campus parking lots, said Junji Toshima, HHS access control manager. This week, community service officers and staff from Parking Services are on the Hill to direct traffic, too.
Toshima said that having to take into account so many factors — construction on the Hill, road conditions, traffic patterns, commencement congestion and parking space availability — means that people in HHS had to start the planning process right after the previous move-out ended.
"It’s a bit like a Tetris game and trying to get all the pieces moved around," Toshima said.
Flying back home to Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday, Gulnaz Kiper said she really appreciated all the assistance UCLA provided.
"They make it really easy," said Kiper, 19, who kept having to reposition her bags in her friend’s Nissan Versa hatchback to get the rear door to close. "And with the turn-around, I didn’t have to do a lot of walking."
In addition to the university-provided help, even Kiper's fellow Rieber Hall residents were cooperative and conscious of the need to be quiet. "It wasn’t too chaotic because students were still studying for finals so everyone tried to be respectful of that while moving," she said.
Mike Garczynski needed three laundry bins for his stuff.
Kiper’s biggest problem was of her own making — acquiring too much new stuff during her first year. "Too much shopping. I got a lot of stuff — clothing, a couple pairs of shoes and they’re heavy," she said. She's relieved that at least she can store her winter gear with friends in Southern California.
While 10 p.m. Friday is the deadline for moving out, graduating seniors are being allowed to stay in their residence halls over the weekend. Recently, Toshima said, more students are opting to move out early, like Morales, rather than waiting until the final few hours.
Mike Garczynski, who just finished his second year, packed all his stuff in two hours Wednesday morning. But even though he waited until the morning his mom arrived to pick him up, moving out of his room in Rieber Hall was easy, he and his mom said. Mom said she appreciated how UCLA even provides assistance when they’ve had to park further away. By moving Mike out midweek, though, they were able to park in the courtyard.
"I’ve never had a problem [at UCLA]," said Randi Garczynski, who had the family’s Cadillac Escalade filled with three laundry carts of Mike’s stuff. "I have a one [child] at ASU, and they’re organized, and one daughter at San Diego State, which is a nightmare."