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Local colleges welcome back students, for the first fall semester without masks



BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — “Our students bring energy and excited and passion with them. That really fuels what we do here.”

Students packed up their bags and filled their cars, ready to move in for their first year away from home.

“I’m just excited to start a new journey and I’m just ready to move in,” said Mekahr St. Hilarre, a freshman who moved in to Buffalo State from New York City on Wednesday. “To make new friends, new classes, and just a new environment from bring in the city.”

“Sharing a new room with people I don’t know is weird,” said Ariadna Benavidet, a Buffalo State freshman from Long Island. “I have no idea what I’m doing to do. FaceTime my mom everyday.”

But for the freshman moving in at both colleges, their faculty is helping them make the transition from high school to college, but also from virtual to fully back to in person classes.

“The last couple years have not been what the college experience is all about,” said Steve Stoute, President of Canisius College. “So we’re getting back to that by creating natural opportunities for our students to come together, to learn about each other but to learn about the college and learn about the community.”

According to Canisius, 475 freshmen are moving into campus and 62% of them are living on campus, helping them grow their residential community.

“Having COVID restrictions gone is really nice to have people right back in class, back on campus, sporting events are going to be nice and normal, so I’m really excited to have everyone back on campus,” said Luca Militello, a senior at Canisius, who came to help freshmen move into their dorms on Wednesday.

Helping others, is what both campuses are priotizing this year, especially with the transition of going back to in-person classes, Buffalo State’s President encourages her students to ask for help when they need it.

“We are there for them, every faculty member, staff member on campus is really there to help them and support them in whatever they need,” said Kate Conway-Turner, Buffalo State’s President. “We’re here for you, use us in everyway, ask all the questions and don’t ever think that we’re not here to support you, because that is our sole purpose.”

For both campuses, their first-year student move-in day was Wednesday, with their classes beginning on Monday.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.



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