Harvard University began welcoming new students and their families Thursday (Aug. 26), with the first move-in day signifying the beginning of the fall semester and a new academic year.

The newcomers were helped in acclimating to their environment by peer advisers — upperclassmen who volunteer to provide academic and social mentoring.  This group can easily be spotted around Harvard Yard wearing bright orange T-shirts that read “Finding Freshman.”

Anika Petach ’13 is a peer adviser for Matthews Hall. She describes her role as “being there as a steppingstone for freshmen, with any questions they have so that they can get the resources that they need. It’s a friendly way for them to get information.”  Peer advisers also offer a student perspective about classes and other aspects of life on campus.

The Gu family was greeted by Harvard College Dean Evelynn Hammonds after they finished moving their daughter Catherine into Thayer Hall from New Jersey. Yancui Gu was impressed with how organized the move-in was and how helpful people were in assisting. “The room is nice, and there is a big common room,” said Catherine. Her biggest concern was the bathroom, because, as she said, “I really don’t know how this is going to work with a hall full of girls and only two showers.”

Terrance Moore and his father Melvin traveled from Atlanta to move in Terrance. Terrance said of the traffic-clogged streets that, “we were not ready for that” but his dad said, “We are from Atlanta, I promise you this traffic is nothing. We had no problems and I have no complaints. Everything was done just right.” They said this is an exciting time for each of them. Terrance is looking forward to “meeting all the extraordinary people at Harvard” and the football season.”  Melvin said of his son, “I hope that he makes us all proud with whatever he does. I’m proud of him getting here.”

Jimmy McCune and his mother Sharon had an easy commute, coming from nearby Somerville. The most challenging part of the move for them was the 20-minute time limit to get everything from the car upstairs to Jimmy’s room. Jimmy said he approached move-in day with an “expect the unexpected” attitude, and it had gone better than expected.

Move-in day

Stephanie Mitchell, Kris Snibbe, Justin Ide/Harvard Staff Photographers

  • Terrance Moore ’14 (right) moves from Atlanta into Straus Hall with a little help from his father, Melvin, and this cart.

    Terrance Moore ’14 (right) moves from Atlanta into Straus Hall with a little help from his father, Melvin, and this cart.

  • The Harvard Class of 2014 struts their stuff in these custom hats, made especially for them.

    The Harvard Class of 2014 struts their stuff in these custom hats, made especially for them.

  • Erin Washington ’11 of the Crimson Key Society offers window-side directions to the flood of families.

    Erin Washington ’11 of the Crimson Key Society offers window-side directions to the flood of families.

  • Moving is always stressful, and a smile is always welcome. Here, Stoughton North proctor Devon Wessman-Smerdon meets and greets incoming students.

    Moving is always stressful, and a smile is always welcome. Here, Stoughton North proctor Devon Wessman-Smerdon meets and greets incoming students.

  • And 1-4 all. Who doesn’t love a clever balloon message?

    And 1-4 all. Who doesn’t love a clever balloon message?

  • Not a South End condo description, but a Stoughton dorm! Chelsea Celistan (center) and roommate Danielle Lussi (left) have lots of decorating to do.

    Not a South End condo description, but a Stoughton dorm! Chelsea Celistan (center) and roommate Danielle Lussi (left) have lots of decorating to do.

  • First-year roommates Chelsea Celistan (left) and Danielle Lussi pore over a list of their room’s former tenants.

    First-year roommates Chelsea Celistan (left) and Danielle Lussi pore over a list of their room’s former tenants.

  • California girl Namrata Anand (left) sits with her cousin Kausalya and a boatload of luggage outside of her new home, Matthews Hall. Justin Ide/ Harvard Staff Photographer

    California girl Namrata Anand (left) sits with her cousin Kausalya and a boatload of luggage outside of her new home, Matthews Hall. Justin Ide/ Harvard Staff Photographer

  • Who wouldn’t strike a pose? Outside of Johnston Gate, Kyle Kruger (left) of Sugarland, Texas, charms the photographer (her mom).

    Who wouldn’t strike a pose? Outside of Johnston Gate, Kyle Kruger (left) of Sugarland, Texas, charms the photographer (her mom).

  • Dean of Harvard College Evelynn Hammonds talks with and charms the proud parents.

    Dean of Harvard College Evelynn Hammonds talks with and charms the proud parents.

  • Catherine Gu ’14 arrives at Thayer Hall for the first time and meets Dean of Harvard College Evelynn Hammonds. Her parents, Kenan (from left) and Yancui, and her sister, Amanda, look on in excitement.

    Catherine Gu ’14 arrives at Thayer Hall for the first time and meets Dean of Harvard College Evelynn Hammonds. Her parents, Kenan (from left) and Yancui, and her sister, Amanda, look on in excitement.

  • Harvard President Drew Faust picks up some energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs from Chandan Lodha ’13 (from left), Annie Baldwin ’13, Annie DeAngelo ’12, and Kurt Tsuo ’11 of the Resource Efficiency Program.

    Harvard President Drew Faust picks up some energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs from Chandan Lodha ’13 (from left), Annie Baldwin ’13, Annie DeAngelo ’12, and Kurt Tsuo ’11 of the Resource Efficiency Program.