Duluth pushes the positivity on ‘move-in day’

The new kids are starting to show up at college, and some of America’s sons are waiting with signs “welcoming” the women. The guys’ parents must be so proud.

“You honk we drink,” one yard sign on Woodland Avenue in Duluth said this year. With each honk, a kid on the porch took a swig. Classy.

Last year on “move-in day,” the new students at the University of Minnesota Duluth had to run the gauntlet of testosterone and alcohol. It wasn’t pretty.

This year, the university and interested residents tried to push a more welcoming approach, including better signs, the Duluth News Tribune says.

But among the students on Tuesday, members of the Rock Hill Community Church held signs on 21st Avenue East stating “Welcome to Duluth” and “You have so much value and worth.” Any students walking past also received free pop and snacks and a high-five from Kyle Eaton, one of the church’s pastors. The church decided to hold positive signs on move-in day for the first time as a way to counteract the negative messages that are usually displayed, Eaton said.

“I just thought what if we changed the message a little bit? Welcome to this great city,” Eaton said. “I think a lot of it, especially targeted at the young freshmen girls — we just want to say, ‘Hey, you have meaning and value and worth.'”

After what Duluth police say was a particularly bad year last year for student behavior on move-in day, UMD and police leaders collaborated on a game plan for this year to encourage students to make good decisions and be safe while having fun, Duluth Police Lt. Chad Nagorski said. He added that he received comments on Tuesday from both officers and neighborhood residents that move-in day was better this year.

Police still broke up parties in the neighborhoods yesterday, which bummed out some kids, according to the Tribune.

“We’re being civil. We’re not doing anything crazy,” one party-goer said. “I understand that in the past, it’s gotten crazy and that’s why they’re cracking down. This is one of the best weeks of the year for everybody and we come out (to have) a good time, seeing friends we haven’t seen all summer.”

The city had sent letters to landlords where there problems a year ago. Some student tenants even used yellow tape to cordon off their property to prevent parties from breaking out.

One landlord said the city should be more embracing of move-in day.

“If this is one day a year where we could all come out and hold signs and give water, grill hot dogs — let’s turn it into kind of a Grandma’s Marathon event. Why not? We know it happens every year. We know it’s not going away,” Barbara Montee said.

More move-in: Newfound freedoms on the horizon during Winona State’s move-in day (Winona Daily News)