Campus News

VIDEO: Making Every Wildcat Feel Welcomed Motivates UK's Sarah Nikirk

Video produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 12, 2016) — For most people, the thought of moving doesn’t exactly conjure up happy thoughts. 

But for Sarah Nikirk, executive director of Auxiliary Services, lifting boxes and carrying suitcases is actually one of the highlights of her year.

“It is like Christmas,” Nikirk said. “There’s nothing like it.”

Of course, this type of heavy lifting has less to do with moving trucks and more to do with offering a smile, welcoming a family from across the country and connecting with the university’s newest faces as part of the UK 2016 Move-In.

This year, Nikirk and hundreds of others from across campus will welcome students and their families during four major Move-In days over the next week:

  • Saturday, Aug. 13
  • Wednesday, Aug. 17
  • Friday, Aug. 19
  • Saturday, Aug. 20

"It is so important that we do it right because it is not only important for the student, but it’s important for the entire family," said Nikirk. "The most important job that we do all day long is to come out and be nice."

Nikirk takes seriously the charge from UK’s strategic plan to focus on student success from their first day on campus. 

“It's been a strategic plan of mine that everyone feel welcome since I've been here,” Nikirk. said. “It only happens once. You have that one day and what you do that day is going to set the tone for that week and that experience.”

She says it’s a mission that takes an enormous effort from people throughout the Wildcat family.

“Move-In has evolved over the years but my main role is to bring all of the people together that have a part in Move-In,” Nikirk said. “The UK Police Department creates the traffic plan so we work directly with Chief (Joe) Monroe and his staff, to make sure that our traffic plan works each year.”

But Move-In at UK goes far beyond traffic plans. Nikirk’s team has to handle logistics from parking and shuttles to the carts students use to haul their belongings into their residence halls. She works closely with Parking and Transportation Services as well as the UK Supply Center, which distributes all the carts. 

"We work with our partners in housing and dining and the Residence Life team, as well," Nikirk said. "We also team up with our Living Learning Program partners, Physical Plant, campus ministries and many individual volunteers. So, while we sort of orchestrate it, there are a lot of people and departments that come together to make it happen."

Watch the video above for an inside look at how Nikirk and her team of volunteers make Move-In run smoothly each and every year. 

This is the first video in our new UKNow series, “Kentucky’s Heartbeat - The Pulse of Our Institution." The goal is to highlight the people who are working every day in various colleges, departments and areas across our campus to help each and every student succeed inside and outside the classroom.  

If you know of someone who you think should be featured because of their dedication to the student experience, please email us. Who knows? We might just choose your suggestion for our next feature or series on UKNow!

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue

MOVE-IN MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 270-566-3988;

MOVE-IN VIDEO CONTACTS: Amy Jones-Timoney, 859-257-2940,, or Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282,