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Freshmen moving into Bemidji State dorms, prepare for orientation

It was rather hectic around Oak Hall at Bemidji State University on Friday morning as freshman moved in. Shown on the left, Al Nohner, a member of the Bemidji Area Alumni Chapter, helps Mikayla Dulz, 12, and her mother Kim, both from Minneapolis, move in Kim’s daughter Jessica Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Mia Ostwald stood outside of Oak Hall Friday morning surrounded by a shoulder-high pile of rubber tubs, boxes and appliances.

“I’m excited, but I’m really nervous, too, mainly because of all this,” she said, motioning to the gear that she and her family had yet to bring up to her new dorm room.

Ostwald, from Stillwater, Minn., was among hundreds of BSU freshmen who reported to campus at 9 a.m. to move into their dorms and prepare for freshman orientation.

She plans to pursue a degree in elementary education and said she chose BSU after visiting a friend.

But there also was another reason, she noted, teasing her parents who stood beside her as she prepared to officially enter college.

“Because when we were visiting River Falls, they said, ‘Oh look, we can visit every weekend,’” Ostwald said, laughing a bit.

BSU reported that there are about 1,275 people living on campus this school year, 750 of whom are freshmen.

Among them is Derek Celander of Litchfield, Minn., following the footsteps of his older brother, Dustin, who graduated from BSU in 2010.

“My brother liked it here,” Celander said as he carried yet another load from his the car to his dorm.

Celander plans to study criminal justice and become a police officer, much like Dustin, who now is a cop in Williston, N.D.

“This is a fun day,” said BSU President Richard Hanson, as he stood outside of the dorms visiting with students, parents and staff.

Online courses have their place in education, Hanson said, but there is something special about the traditional college experience.

“This is part of their socialization, part of growing up,” he said. “This, and commencement, are the two high points for every university president.”

Ashley Van Der Linden of Door County, Wis., came to Bemidji Thursday night with her parents. They met up with her roommate from St. Cloud and the two families had dinner together.

Van Der Linden, in explaining why she chose to attend college in Bemidji, said the city “is not much bigger than Door County” but still more than nine hours from her hometown so she still gets to “go away” to college. She plans to study biology/pre-medicine.

SaVaughn Alexander and Dexter Taylor, friends from Joliet, Ill., together were moving their belongings into Oak Hall even though they’ve been on campus for two weeks.

Both are members of the BSU football team and reported early for two-a-day practices. They had moved into Maple Hall temporarily but had to relocate to Oak Hall in preparation for the school year.

The students from Joliet, a southwestern suburb of Chicago, both seemed content with their new surroundings.

“The lake view is pretty nice,” said Taylor, who is considering studying exercise science. Alexander said he’s undecided on a major, but wants to be a firefighter, so he will take courses that will help him in that career.

Jordan Morgan was outside of Oak Hall getting his bicycle in place. Morgan, from St. Peter, Minn., plans to focus on environmental studies.

“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of work, but that’s kind of what you sign up for.”

Anna Buck, of Fergus Falls, was in her new dorm, getting ready for the year and awaiting the arrival of her roommate.

Buck, also a member of the BSU tennis team, said she chose BSU because she likes the outdoors. She plans to study social work and is looking forward to the coming months.

“Meeting new people,” she said, “just college life.”

Caroline Bednar of Coon Rapids, Minn., said she visited BSU as a junior and “fell in love” with the campus.

Bednar, who is considering a major in history or psychology, said she was looking forward to college.

“Right now, I’m really excited, but I’ve been a little nervous too,” she said.