SLU Welcomes Incoming Freshman Class to Campus
You hear them before you see them.
It starts out as a faint murmur, but as you drive closer, it gets louder and louder. Chanting. Clapping. Hooting and hollering.
Finally, you turn into Laclede Garage, and there is a mass of orange shirts, all adorned with the same word: Oriflamme.
It’s Saint Louis University’s freshmen move-in day, an experience unlike any other.
The Class of 2027 got to experience their freshman move-in day Thursday as SLU welcomed its newest class to campus. Families from all across the country drove and flew to midtown as the new wave of Billikens made the dorms their home for the upcoming school year.
Every year, hundreds of SLU students apply to be a part of Oriflamme, hoping to be the first faces these new students see come August. Part pep crew, part pit crew, Oriflamme directs traffic, unloads cars, assists in bringing all the dorm essentials and ultimately, making each freshman know that SLU is home.
This year, those dorm essentials included gaming computers, bass guitars, manatee posters and even golf clubs.
One of those students hoping to hit the links this semester is Angel Miralrio from Dallas, Texas. Studying computer science, Miralrio is excited for what the new year will bring and being able to explore a new city and make new friends.
“I’m really excited to be here and excited for the new adventure,” Miralrio said. “I’m looking forward to who I’m going to meet, who I’m going to be friends with, and how my classes are going to go. I’m just really excited.”
Sky Carroll has been an Oriflamme member ever since her sophomore year. A senior this year, she served as a student leader for the organization. For the past three years, move-in day has been her favorite day of the school year, as she gets to share and spread the same love and passion she has for SLU to the next generation of students.
“When I came to SLU, I came in 2020, so I had a very different Oriflamme experience,” Carroll said. “But I had a wonderful Oriflamme leader who did her absolute best to make me feel welcome, and I wanted to create that experience for first-year students. My passion is working with new students in their transition to college, so that’s why I’m here today and why I wanted to be an Oriflamme leader. It brings me a lot of joy and is really fulfilling work.”
Oriflamme makes the incoming freshmen feel like they're being welcomed into the family, and for some, it truly is a family affair. Sophie Crane, a junior at SLU, helped move in her younger brother Xavier into the dorms for his freshman year.
In high school, Sophie had no intention of moving to the Midwest from her hometown of Hartford, Conn. But one visit to SLU and that all changed. For Xavier, all it took was one rub of the Billiken’s belly and he too was hooked.
“Sophie loved SLU and she’s been trying to get me to come here the past two years,” Xavier Crane said. “It was a lot like it was for her. I fell in love with the campus, applied and it just worked out that I ended up here in St. Louis. That first visit, I rubbed the Billiken belly statue and just knew I wanted to come here. What else is there to say?”
Having children so far away from home can be scary for parents Beth Esstman and Lee Crane, but they’re only a phone or Zoom call away, and it certainly helps knowing the siblings will be on campus together looking out for each other and enjoying some of the best four years of their lives.
“It’s hard to have them so far away, but it’s nice to know they’re together,” Esstman said.
“You’ve already got someone who knows the ropes, who’s already got a network here and who knows the lay of the land,” Lee Crane added. “So it should make for a smooth transition for little brother, and that’s really comforting.”
A new school year presents all kinds of new possibilities, and the recurring theme from Oriflamme students, upperclassmen and parents is to enjoy it as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to learn something new, whether that’s in the classroom or about yourself.
“Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and also be the person who says hi first,” Carroll said. “Everyone is looking for a friend, so if you take that first step and make everyone feel welcomed and included, it will be good for them and even better for you.”
“Go out of your comfort zone,” Sophie Crane added. “Freshman year is such a fun time and everyone’s in the same place as you, trying to make new friends, so be the one who reaches out first. Introduce yourself to new people because you never know who is going to be your best friend.”