Move-in days at Oakland University in Rochester Hills began Aug. 30.

Move-in days at Oakland University in Rochester Hills began Aug. 30.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Continue to adjust dorm décor after moving in

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published September 11, 2019

 Gina Tillinger, 17, of Macomb Township, moves into her dorm room in Hamlin Hall on Oakland  University’s campus Aug. 30. Tillinger said her plan was to “loft everything so there is more room.”

Gina Tillinger, 17, of Macomb Township, moves into her dorm room in Hamlin Hall on Oakland University’s campus Aug. 30. Tillinger said her plan was to “loft everything so there is more room.”

Photo by Erin Sanchez

METRO DETROIT — Thousands of students recently took part in move-in days at Oakland University in Rochester Hills Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, and they might want to keep working on their organization, equipment and décor until they have it just right for their needs.

The best piece of advice that Kelly Garnett, OU assistant director of university housing, had for incoming students to smoothly transition to college living was to start small.

“With a lot of the freshmen, we see them bring a lot of equipment and storage items,” she said. “They find when they get here, they’ve brought more than they need.”

She added that it’s important for students to begin with the essentials, and as they get settled in and need to add more items, they should do it then.

Freshman Ryan Ostrowski, of St. Clair Shores, moved into Hamlin Hall.

“It took me a couple weeks to get everything organized for the move,” he said.

Ostrowski graduated from De La Salle Collegiate High School in 2019. He said the reason he wanted to live at college, as opposed to commuting roughly 45 minutes, was to receive a complete college experience.

Garnett recommended that students not bring so many organizers to the dorm.

“We recommend they bring one or two extra organizers, but they are provided with closet and dresser space,” she said. “The majority of their clothing items can be hung up in the closet or placed in the dresser drawers.”

Knowing he didn’t have a whole lot of room to work with, Ostrowski said the key items he brought for the move were basic necessities, like clothes and cleaning supplies.  

A helpful item that Garnett recommends students have is a shoe rack and an additional organizer for smaller items.

Garnett said that the university’s housing department often receives questions from incoming students about how much space is available.

“They’ll ask if they’re able to loft their beds, and if so, what is the height, how much space is available underneath, and what size is the closet,” she said.

During move-in week, upward of 3,100 students made OU their new home.

When it comes to decorating a room and giving it a homey feel, Garnett said it’s important for students to individualize their living spaces.

“We find a lot of people bring in framed photographs, or a photo album of their friends and family back home can be reassuring as they’re getting to know all their new friends,” she said.

Gina Tillinger, of Macomb Township, who attended Dakota High School, said her plan was to “loft everything so there is more room.”

To help narrow down what the essential living items were, Tillinger thought of what items she uses every day and packed them.

OU provides a two-page list on its housing website of what to bring when moving to campus. Recommended items include basic cleaning supplies, kitchen items, a microwave and a TV.       

Tillinger’s father, Bill Tillinger, said he made sure his daughter was equipped with the essentials, based off his experience living at Central Michigan University when he was a student.

“A TV, and some of your little essentials like a coffee pot are important to give you a home feeling,” he said. “Some things are left at home that might be a transition later on.”   

A few items that Oakland University recommends students not bring are air conditioning units, deep fryers, pets and sandwich makers.

Classes began at Oakland Sept. 4.