Volunteers welcome VU frosh to campus

If Vanderbilt's freshmen basketball players had any doubts that the fall term would be very different from the 5-week summer term, an army of volunteer upperclassmen laid those to rest during the the students' official move-in. A massive welcoming committee with bright green t-shirts, smiles and willing muscles weaved luggage through hallways and up to six flights of stairs.

Sophomore guard Gabby Smith was reported to be among the volunteer movers in The Commons, the large area of dorm buildings housing true freshmen in a planned residential community. The activity coincides with a volunteer spirit she developed in Cincinnati working with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and young girls at a basketball program.

Christina Foggie and Jasmine Lister arrived mid morning on Saturday, their rentals lined up about 10 vehicles apart. The new roomies had stashed some gear in Memorial's locker room for the six days they were home on break, and their parents had tales to tell of the road leading to Vanderbilt on moving day.

Tori Jarosz was to arrive much later on Saturday with an afternoon flight and Kayci Ferris elected to move in on Sunday. A registration mix-up put the players with different roommates temporarily, but the pair may be able to switch back in a few weeks.


Clair and Mark Watkins unload the truck.

Clair Watkins beat the crowd on Friday evening after receiving approval for an early move. Her father Mark, a meteorologist with a new position in Traverse City, Mich., took advantage of the double-move with a U-Haul trailer loaded with belongings from their home in Matthews, N.C. Clair, her mom Nancy and 10-year-old brother Jackson helped unpack the truck under the amused gaze of onlookers who mistakenly thought the entire load was meant for Clair's room.


Clair moves a loaded cart up the walkway.

The freshman's brief time at home was filled with packing and a side trip to the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Of this second move on to campus after a 7-hour drive, Clair said it was "Overwhelming a little bit. At least it's calm right now." Security was tight in all parking areas, virtually empty Friday night, around the dorms.

As the family finished unloading in the room, talk turned to the transition of four people in three places. Nancy and Jackson will remain in the Charlotte area through Christmas while their house is on the market.


The Watkins family - Jackson, Nancy, Clair and Mark.

"When Clair spoke of going home during the break," her mom said, "she meant Nashville. This is where she belongs now and she loves it."

Mother-daughter team Christina and Nicola Foggie welcomed the many helping hands on arrival Saturday. James Foggie, a long-distance runner since high school, recently had a double hip replacement and could not make the trip, although he is recovering quickly.


Christina removes items from the car.


Christina and mom Nicola Foggie.

"It's definitely different," Christina said of the move. "It's fun. I've been here five weeks already so I sort of feel like a veteran," she laughs. "At least I know my way around."


A volunteer helps Jasmine with the move.


Happi and Jasmine Lister.

Imagine moving two daughters, both point guards at Division 1 schools nearly 2,000 miles apart, from one day to the next. Happi and Devland Lister of Corona Santiago, Calif., first stopped in Idaho to settle Cinnamon, twin sister of Jasmine, at Boise State, before flying into Nashville at 1 a.m. on Saturday. The close sisters will have some identical decorations in their rooms. The other Lister has a large suite she alone will occupy, but Jasmine welcomed having her teammate nearby.


Jasmine and dad Devland Lister.

"I think it's cool," Jasmine said. "I really like having a roommate and I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

Christina guarded both sisters in summer ball, noting that she couldn't tell the difference since their numbers were close as well. "I just switched off without knowing who was who!"

Happi said she would welcome Boise State playing in Vandy's Thanksgiving tournament at some point in the next four years. "Wouldn't that be great?!"

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