Move-in weekend for Miami students makes an impact in Oxford

By Jarred Kappers

Miami University welcomes 4,285 new students to campus this weekend, the largest incoming freshman class in the school’s history.

Move-in weekend is one of the five “impact weekends” the city experiences during the year, according to Enjoy Oxford, the city’s visitors’ bureau. In addition to the freshmen, their parents and families as well as upperclassmen began crowding into town earlier this week to get settled in for the new school year. The crowd fills hotels from Hamilton to Richmond and restaurants are often packed.

Hundreds of upper-class students from fraternities, sororities, and athletic teams volunteer each year to help make the move-in process a breeze for new students and their families.

According to the University’s official move-in guide, families can find free parking in the North Campus Parking Garage (near the Baseball Stadium), the Campus Avenue Parking Garage (near the Rec Center), or in the Millet Hall or Ditmer parking lots after unloading their vehicles at student dorms.

During an impact weekend, (the other four are Homecoming, Family Weekend, Graduation and Alumni Weekend) the crowds not only spur the local economy, but also spur the need for more police efforts to control traffic and exuberant behavior. “It’s getting very active around town,” Oxford Police Chief John Jones reported to city council  Tuesday night.

According to OPD Police Lt. Lara Fening, extra officers are assigned on patrol and taskforce shifts are put into place to deter and apprehend drunk drivers.

Just last Saturday, police apprehended an 18-year-old male recklessly operating an electric scooter on the sidewalks of E. High Street. According to the police report, Riley Alexander Duncan, with a Fairfield home address,  narrowly missed pedestrians on the sidewalk and almost hit a marked police cruiser. The suspect told police he was “just having fun,” and had consumed two or three Angry Orchard ales, according to the report.

He was arrested for disorderly conduct, and underage drinking, and later released into the custody of his friends, the report said.

“Anytime you get a large influx of people drinking there has historically and notoriously been an influx of more and more people driving, mistaking that they are OK,” Fening said. “This is a big weekend which leads to big lapses in judgment of what people are actually capable of doing.”

Kim Daggy, the new executive director of Enjoy Oxford,  said the city is ready to welcome the class of 2023.

Enjoy Oxford has a variety of events planned to welcome the new arrivals, this weekend, including a scavenger hunt on Saturday.  Teams of 2-4 freshman can meet at Enjoy Oxford’s booth in Uptown Park at 10 a.m. to receive their clues and begin the scavenger hunt around the city. When students figure out clues, they will take a photo and post it to Instagram, using designated hashtags. Teams that complete the hunt by noon will win T-shirts and other prizes.

At 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 25, Miami University will welcome the incoming class at a Convocation ceremony in Millett Hall. The event is open to all and will feature author Stephanie Anderson as its keynote speaker. Anderson is the author of Miami’s summer reading program book, “One Size Fits None: A Farm Girl’s Search for the Promise of Regenerative Agriculture,” which explores how nontraditional farm operations can give back to the earth rather than degrade it.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming the new arrivals to the City of Oxford, not only as new students to the university but also as new members of the Oxford community,” said Daggy.

Fall semester classes will begin Monday, Aug. 26.