Some 650 students are new to the campus this year, and to make the new students and families feel welcome, AU staff members and upperclassmen were all smiles Wednesday as they greeted carload after carload and helped haul the students' belongings into their dorm rooms.
"This is our third child to go here, and this is the first time we ever had people help us move in. Oh, it was wonderful," said Cheryl Betten of New Castle, while moving her daughter, Kara, into Rice Hall.
"It's only taking maybe 15 minutes to get moved into a room," said AU student Abby Long, decked out in bright yellow T-shirt with a large black question mark sign. Long and Shawn Chadwell were among the upperclassmen to whom students and parents could go for questions and directions.
"It's going great," Chadwell said of moving in day. Long agreed. "Parents are commenting that they're so surprised how well organized it is."
Debbie Slater of Pittsboro was among the impressed parents. She found the move to AU to be a lot easier for her daughter, Sarah, than when she moved her son to Wabash College. She appreciated the help from the AU staff.
"I thought that was real nice that we didn't have to bring Grandpa and everybody up to help move everything in," she said.
Bob Coffman, director of development at AU, was among staff members helping students move in.
"It's always great to see the new students and all of their excitement and enthusiasm. It's fun to be a part of it," Coffman said, adding he knows firsthand how wonderful it can be to have help on move-in day. "We were beneficiaries of this when our kids moved in, and so it's nice to be able to return the favor," he said. "Everybody is just so appreciative, and I know that we were. We showed up with a big truck full of stuff, and 10 minutes later it was all in the room. It was really great."
And while hauling belongings to the dorm rooms was easier than they expected, some families found the challenge afterward -- trying to find a way to fit everything into the small dorm rooms.
Roommates Kim Bowman, Mishawaka, and Kara Betten, New Castle, were getting acquainted in the hallway along with their mothers, while Kim's dad, Dave, and Kara's grandfather, Bill Clampett, were doing everything they could to arrange the bed frames in the small dorm room.
"It's such a little area to move big pieces of furniture," admitted Kara's mom, Cheryl.
"Our game plan is to get as much floor space as possible," said Kim's dad, Dave. The two families were planning to construct a loft with hopes it'd give Kim and Kara more room below for all of their belongings.
"We're going to get them up high," said Dave. "I guess they'll be sleeping on the ceiling."
----THERESA CAMPBELL is the Features Editor for the Anderson Herald-Bulletin.