AIC welcomes first-year students to campus

It was move-in day for first-year students at American International College in Springfield.
Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 1:36 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It was move-in day for first-year students at American International College in Springfield. All of it happened just weeks after a devastating fire heavily damaged the school’s health science building.

The boxes are out of the cars and into the dorms.

It is now official: the collegiate experience for first-year students at American International College is finally underway.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this, just waiting to get out of the house, first time truly being on my own, and the same with all of the other hundreds of kids. It’ll be fun. I can’t wait,” said Liam Francis from Plaistow, NH.

Francis traveled from New Hampshire to study sports and recreation management and compete on the track and field team. Helpers from the school’s field hockey team assisted with boxes. This transition to college life has his father full of emotions.

“(He’s) kind of leaving the nest and that type of thing. He’s going to be on his own, but it’s exciting. It’s nerve wracking as a parent, but I’m really happy for him,” said Liam’s father, Jeff Francis.

With just days before classes, other first-years, their parents, and fellow students carried belongings into Pouch Hall. Seeing Friday’s sight made AIC President Hubert Benitez call move-in day one of the best days of the year.

“I always see it as a day of hope. Everything is going to be great for us. Everything is going to go the way we want it to be. It’s going to be a great year for the students and a great year for AIC,” Benitez explained.

Mayra Bok, a field hockey player and first-year public administration major from the Netherlands, said she was happy to help fellow classmates moving in and cannot wait to get started.

“It’s really different. Almost everything is different here, like living on-campus, going to school, sleep and eat and practice all at the same place. It’s really different, but I like it,” Bok noted.

There was a question about how the year would start for some students because of last month’s fire that destroyed the health sciences building. After that happened, students like Bok’s teammate and criminal justice major Maddie Darling from Scotia, NY were curious how the year would begin.

“I definitely was unsure on how it would affect the school year or move-in days,” Darling said.

Benitez called that day tragic, but said the school is keeping its promise to make sure everyone is taken care of.

“The relocation and the reimagination of the hall will take some time, but we’re back in business. No impact to the students’ educational experience,” Benitez added.

Now that the first-year students are completing the process of getting settled, they have some advice for themselves and each other as they embark on this brand-new journey.

“Definitely stay open-minded. You never know what’s going to happen, but you got to trust it and go with it. Definitely enjoy it. Meet new people,” Darling explained.

“Just be yourself, have fun. I think this is going to be a really good class. I’ve already met a lot of good people here,” Liam Francis said.

The rest of the student population will move in on Sunday, followed by classes beginning the very next day.