At the front entrance of Babson College, near bundles of green and white balloons, a group of students stand holding signs. For an hour or two, they are tasked with a simple job: Cheer on every vehicle that pulls into campus.
Their aim is to welcome new students for move-in day. Those students’ very first moments on campus, as official members of Class of 2026, will involve having this welcoming committee yelling and waving signs at them. “It is the first impression, and that is important,” says one of the students at the entrance, Garrison Hayes ’25.
A few of the arriving students are bewildered or bemused by the energetic welcoming, but many are thrilled by it. There are many smiles and honks of car horns. “When they’re super excited, it gets me going,” Hayes says.
Not every car entering campus is filled with students. Many are staff who find themselves cheered on their way to work. In response to the students’ enthusiasm, a passing Babson police officer turns on his car’s siren.
All of this yelling can take a toll on one’s throat. “So far, it’s pretty good,” Hayes says. “I don’t know how it will be later.” For Deon Body ’23, the key to being a successful campus greeter comes down to two key factors. “Bring the energy, always,” he says, “and drink lots of water.”
This boisterous scene is just one of myriad memorable moments that played out across campus on move-in day, a time of new beginnings for parents and incoming students. Here are some others:
Renting a U-Haul hadn’t been in the move-in day plans for Alakananda Krishnan ’26. Her family—who had been eyeing the steady stream of Amazon and Target packages entering the house over the past few months—realized those plans would need an update the morning they planned to drive from Rhode Island to Babson.
“At first, we thought we could make it in one trip in our small SUV. Then, we thought we could do it in two trips,” says Anand Puravangara, Krishnan’s dad. “I took one look at all of it this morning and said, ‘No way.’ ”
So Krishnan, an incoming Babson first-year student, now sits perched in the middle seat of a rented pickup truck. Her mom sits in the passenger seat, and her dad is behind the wheel, as the truck slowly progresses in line at the Trim parking lot, where new students register and pick up the keys to their new residence hall.
“I’m feeling a good mix of excitement and nervousness, but mostly excitement,” Krishnan says. “I feel like I’ve been waiting for this day for so long.”
She already connected with her roommate, a student from New York she met via Babson’s Class of 2026 Instagram page. “I’m already a campus ambassador,” Krishnan says. Student government and the Indian Student Association are on her radar, and she’s trying out soon for the Babson Dance Ensemble.
The one thing she’s not prepared for is living so far away from her family.
“It’s a hard move. It hasn’t hit me yet, but it’s feeling more real,” Krishnan says. She glances at her mom, whose eyes glitter with pride and tears. “It’ll be an adjustment for everyone.”
Next to Park Manor Central, Nolan Card ’25 stands near a row of carts. They are his purview. “I am the cart manager,” he says.
Card is one of a number of students waiting at Central for the incoming class and their families to arrive. The students will help the newcomers unpack their cars and get settled in their rooms. Eventually, this area will fill with activity, with lifting and moving, with comings and goings, but, for now, all is calm.
As cart manager, Card aims to help make the move-in process run smoothly. That means carts should be kept in perpetual motion. They should be loaded up, ferried to rooms, and then rolled back for others to fill back up. “Every cart will be used,” he says. “Every cart will have someone with it at all times.”
Molly Hennessy ’24 also is stationed at Central. Her job is timekeeper. New students and their families are given 15 minutes to unload their cars, so that traffic doesn’t begin to back up. Hennessy’s job entails keeping tabs on those 15 minutes and calling people if they run over.
It’s an important task, but Hennessy can’t help but wonder if she wasn’t meant to help in other ways. “I can carry some heavy things,” she says. “I was wasted potential.”
Standing nearby is Molly Buckley, program manager in the Glavin Office of International Education. She is one of a number of Babson staff who have volunteered to help on move-in day.
Buckley has worked at several colleges. She is drawn to higher education, and, a day like today, filled with excitement and possibility, is a primary reason. “This is why I do this work,” she says.
Ben Xu ’26 and his father are heading back to Xu’s dorm room after making perhaps the most important purchase they would make all day: an electric fan.
“Yeah, it’s very hot,” Xu says as he ducks out of the sun to stand in a nearby patch of shade.
Xu left his home in Denver and arrived in Massachusetts a day before he was scheduled to move in, but he couldn’t sleep a wink thanks to a potent mix of jet lag and anticipation.
“A place like this will make him a world citizen.”
Monty Sabharwal, dad of Kabir Sabharwal ’26
“I’m really excited. I looked at all the professors and all the programs, and I just love everything Babson has going on,” Xu says.
The move is over, but Xu’s still adjusting to his new home. Xu’s mother, he says, also is adjusting to her son’s departure. She didn’t make the trip to Wellesley, but Xu knows she’s proud of him, and she has his back, even from nearly 2,000 miles away.
“Winters in Colorado are very different,” says Xu, adding that his mom made sure he had plenty of sturdy, waterproof winter wear.
“Back home, it’s cold in the winter, but it’s also dry,” Xu says. “It’s a lot different here in New England. She wanted to make sure I was prepared.”
Outside of Park Manor West, as students and parents fly about him, Monty Sabharwal thinks about the distance that will now separate him from his son, Kabir Sabharwal ’26. They are from Mumbai, a place thousands of miles from Babson Park. “It is difficult,” Monty says. “It is hard to see someone so young going away.”
Still, he knows his son is in a good place. Monty likes Babson’s entrepreneurial mindset and international focus. “A place like this will make him a world citizen,” he says.
For his part, Kabir is thinking about his new home, about the people he will meet and how pretty the campus looks. “It is so lovely,” he says. “I feel like I will enjoy living here.”
Meanwhile, Aryan Shanker ’26 and his dad, Ravi Shankar, hustle away from Park Manor West toward the Reynolds Campus Center. They also are from far away. They call Singapore home, and their immediate concern is finding Aryan’s packages. To carry stuff all the way from Singapore to outfit his new room in West wouldn’t have been practical, so Aryan simply ordered things online. “I got everything from Target,” he says.
Aryan is looking forward to pursuing his many interests at Babson, both inside and outside the classroom. “I’m into ideation. I’m into innovation,” he says. “I like to make music. I like to DJ. I like sports. I feel very happy to be here. It is a new chapter.” His father is proud to see that new chapter begin. “It’s a big day for him,” Ravi says. “He is dreaming big.”
In the busy mail room on the second floor of Reynolds, packages are seemingly everywhere. The father and son retrieve what they need and go on their way.
Like many members of the incoming class, Ethan Shapiro ’26 has brought a lot of stuff with him. His parents drive two cars to campus filled with his bags and bins.
As Ethan and his dad, Mark, take a load up to his new room in Forest Hall, his mom, Vita, stands by the cars and sorts through what remains. In the weeks leading up to move-in day, she has gone on a Facebook page called Grown and Flown, as well as consulted with her cousin who owns a packing and moving company, to figure out the best things to bring.
“I’m feeling a good mix of excitement and nervousness, but mostly excitement. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this day for so long.”
Alakananda Krishnan ’26
“I have been dealing with the moving part for a while,” she says. “What he doesn’t need, we’ll take back.”
Ethan and Mark soon return from his new home on Forest’s third floor. “There is a lot of room,” Ethan reports. Before they all left for Babson, Vita recalls that her son got a bit emotional when he spent a few final moments alone at his childhood home. “I went and said goodbye to my room,” he told her.
Now, a new room awaits him, as he takes another trip up to the third floor, rolling a bag filled with three bowling balls. He was a star bowler in high school and wants to start a bowling club at Babson.
The Devonish family is in an impromptu huddle outside Park Manor North, regrouping to make sure they’ve covered all the move-in essentials for McCoy Devonish ’26.
The family already checked in at Trim parking lot to register and pick up McCoy’s keys to his residence hall. They maneuvered a string of overstuffed carts to Park Manor North and helped him set up his new room. They had spent so much time planning to make sure everything went smoothly on this big day. Now what?
“The whole thing was pretty organized. I was surprised by how easy it was to find everything,” says McCoy, who chose to attend Babson for its entrepreneurial reputation and because it’s close to his mom and sisters in Boston.
“Everyone was so friendly, and there’s just a great energy all around,” says McCoy’s mother, Desiree Devonish, as she casts an eye over Park Manor Quad. “The grounds are absolutely spectacular.”
McCoy is less than 20 miles from home, but it won’t be the same without him, says Desiree.
“I will definitely miss him,” she says. “He’s my only son and he’s a core part of our family, but I’m really, really happy that he’s here. I’m just incredibly proud and excited for him.”
As for what’s next, that will come in time.
“Just being surrounded with lots of stimulation and the international presence here, it’s going to be good for him,” she says. “It has all the best ingredients for growth and development.”
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