Campus Life

UWF welcomes new and returning students

Tears were shed. Boxes were unpacked. A wide assortment of nervous, anxious and excited smiles were displayed. These were just some of many images portrayed by students, parents and families during move-in day at the University of West Florida. The smiles grew bigger as families who arrived that morning realized that UWF students, faculty and staff were there to help unload their cars. While some students almost bounded into the experience, others snuck extra hugs to mom and dad before their cars were emptied, the beds were made and the last clothes hanger was hung.

“I’ve never seen so many helpful people in my life and it only took one trip to unload it all,” said Michael Prellberg, parent of an incoming UWF freshman. “When we got up there to start unpacking, I have to admit that I had to leave the room because I was getting teary eyed. I think I was the only wuss crying.”

Prellberg’s daughter Steffany, a marine biology hopeful from Navarre, was able to share the day with her parents and two sisters as she set up her new home-away-from-home. Rooming with Nicolle Campbell, a friend from Navarre, she’s grateful to have the advantage of knowing her roommate, but will have to in turn say goodbye to her old roommates, her parents.

“I’m excited to start, but I’ll be a little upset to see my Mom go,” she confessed. “She’s my best friend.”

As students and families walked the halls, getting last minute items from the car, new student Matt McKeag was already busy making sushi dinner plans with friends. McKeag, who hails from Connecticut, garnered a jump start in his college career participating in Argo Camp. Held three days prior to move-in day, Argo Camp is an additional (but optional) orientation experience held in Marianna. that allows incoming freshmen to meet new people and participate in activities. Hanging out with his new friends Dale Russell from Tampa and Memphis native Megan Kuffel, McKeag is looking forward to getting the last minute essentials with his dad.

“I flew down here on my own for Argo Camp and was able to drop my stuff at Martin Hall,” said McKeag. “My dad will be here on Friday to help me figure out what else I may need.”

While Kelly Canizales said a private goodbye to her Mom, her Dad Julio, sister Ashley and ‘Papa’ Norman, waited in the common area reflecting on the day.

“She’s stepping away from home which has always been her foundation for years,” said Julio Canizales. “This will be the first time that she’ll be on her own.”

Although they’ll have to say goodbye to their families, first-year students will get to participate in a variety of Welcome Week activities including Late Nite with Recreation,Chartwells Luau Dinner, Platinum Players Club Casino Night Games, Student Services Expo, ice cream socials and more.

Students will also get the chance to kick the school year off right, attending UWF Convocation 2008,Aug. 27 at 11:30 a.m. in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Mainstage Theatre, Building 82. The event will feature the UWF Jazz Band, Army ROTC Color Guard and a presidential welcome from Judy Bense. The guest speaker will be Patrick Moore, 2007 Florida Professor of the Year, associate professor and director of the UWF Public History Program. The convocation will also feature selections from the Music Department and a special theatre performance of “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat” from “Guys and Dolls.”

For more information about Welcome Week activities, visit

By Megan Tyson, University Marketing Communications