Valeria Barriobero looked happy, a little harried, maybe a little nervous as she moved her things across the Yard to her new home in Thayer Hall on Friday.
“Just walking around the campus already, you see so many different people who come from so many different places,” said the 18-year-old Miami native, who was getting help with her stuff from her parents and boyfriend. “I’m just so excited to be able to interact with them and learn from all of the experience that they have.”
Barriobero was part of the third and final group of first-years to move into their dorms, a process that began two days before. The center of campus vibrated with activity as members of the Class of 2025, one of the largest ever at Harvard, were welcomed by new classmates, resident deans, and administrators who rolled up their sleeves to help with boxes, bags, and suitcases.
“I missed running into students and talking to them. It feels like a university again,” said President Larry Bacow, who had just come downstairs after helping carry one student’s gear. “I’m looking forward to getting to know them over something other than Zoom. There’s a level of excitement in part because no one took this for granted — it’s actually happening, we’re here.”
Bacow was joined by his wife Adele, along with Claudine Gay, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Katherine O’Dair, Dean of Students, Nekesa Straker, Senior Assistant Dean of Residential Life and First-Year Students, Rakesh Khurana, Danoff Dean of Harvard College, and others. The deans looked just as delighted as the first-years and their families at the joyous, if somewhat chaotic, spectacle of move-in, particularly after the past stretch of more restrictive pandemic limits since March of 2020.
“It’s wonderful,” Gay said. “To see this campus coming reanimated and return to its natural state, which is alive with people and all the emotion of in-person interaction and all the ambient energy that comes with that. It feels tremendous. It feels like it gives us the fuel we need to carry us through the whole next year.”