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Freshmen descend on VU, mark start of new school year

Student volunteers help freshmen move inAlumni Hall Saturday Valparaiso University campus. | Sun-Times Media

Student volunteers help freshmen move into Alumni Hall Saturday on the Valparaiso University campus. | Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 26, 2014 1:31PM



VALPARAISO — Rosemarie Walker is not a tear-shedder.

On Saturday, she saw daughter Asha, 18, off to Valparaiso University. She graduated from Calumet New Technical High School in Calumet Township and is attending VU on a Lilly Endowment scholarship.

“She is the last of four girls. Hallelujah! Hear my gospel, praise God!” the Gary mom said, adding there’d be no crying from her as she sent her youngest away to school. “I want them to be self-sufficient.”

Student volunteers in yellow “We move you” T-shirts unloaded everything from bedding to bottled water Saturday outside three VU dorms, as freshman – and their parents – underwent a rite of passage taking place on campuses across the country.

University President Mark Heckler also made the rounds, helping move belongings into Alumni Hall.

“I’ve pulled nothing but fifth-floor moves, but that’s OK. Somebody’s got to do it,” he said, dripping with sweat in the heat and humidity, adding he caught a break when his last load was pillows.

This is the seventh year he’s pitched in. Heckler likes to see the new faces and welcome new people to campus, support the student volunteers, and see from the front lines what’s happening on campus.

“It just reminds me every day what a great place this is and how lucky I am to be here,” he said, before taking off to shake hands with parents who pulled up in front of Alumni.

At Lankenau Hall nearby, incoming freshman Joie Bettenhausen, 18, and her grandmother, Elaine Seamon, both of Joliet, Ill., waited for Joie’s parents to show up.

Bettenhausen selected VU for its meteorology department, and said she wouldn’t mind being the next Ginger Zee, who graduated from VU and is now the weather anchor on “Good Morning America.”

“That would be awesome,” Bettenhausen said. “I want to be on the Weather Channel.”

Dad Stan Bettenhausen was relaxed about his daughter starting college.

“It’ll be a good experience for her. She’s moving on with her life. I’m happy she’s going,” he said. “I’m a little sad that she’s going, sure, but it’s one of the stepping stones in life and I think she’ll enjoy it.”

Mom Joy Lewandowski was less blasé.

“I’ve been dreading this moment since she was 16,” Lewandowski said, adding she switched careers to be teacher when she found out she was pregnant so she could spend more time with her daughter.

She said she was doing OK, all things considered, and has had two years to process sending her daughter to college. “I’ve been crying for two years, so I might have used up all the tears I have.”



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