DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - The University of Dayton welcomed its largest first-year class in the University's 162-year history.
The campus was bustling Saturday with more than 2,100 first-year students eager to leave the comfort of their parents' homes and begin college life.
"It's a pretty huge transition," said Michael Sheehan of Springfield. "Moving from your parents' house to living on your own is going to be tough, but I mean, I'm going to love it."
Sheehan, a first-year business major, was one of thousands of students packing the parking lot, hauling his belongings into his new home in Marianist Hall.
Students and parents lugged in boxes and crates into Marycrest, Stuart, Founders, and Marianist dorms.
First year students had a lot of helping hands for their big move-in. Clad in blue shirts and welcoming smiles, University of Dayton's "Blue Crew" was there to make the load a little lighter and help with some of the heavy lifting.
"It's all volunteer work. We all just pick up their stuff, help them move in, help them with whatever they need, and answer a few questions. We just try to make them feel as welcome as we did when we first moved in," said senior Jennifer Churik, a member of Saturday's "Blue Crew."
The "Blue Crew" helped students carry boxes, supplies, and clothing, while also helping students become acclimated with the campus. Members of the organization said move in day is much more than just getting students settled in their dorms; it's also about easing those first year jitters.
"It's chaotic as ever but you walk through the streets, you walk through campus, and you know that everyone is happy to be here. Everyone is so happy to be back. We are all a family here," said Churik.
Churik said one of the reasons she participated in "Blue Crew" was to make first-year students feel welcome.
"Everyone here has been really helpful. I'm not scared to ask questions, or ask where I am," said Maria Hopkins, a first year student from the Cincinnati area studying medicinal pharmaceutical chemistry. Hopkins stated, "There's a ton of responsibility that has to be done when you're going to be living by yourself, but everyone knows that. It's going to be different having to share a room with a roommate."
Despite the apprehension that some students were feeling, there was still a lot of excitement.
Upperclassmen said the reason why so many students choose to go to the University of Dayton is because of the strong sense of community.
"You're here and you're happy. Everyone feels like they're at home. You need something, you can walk next door, as if you were just in the suburbs. You borrow butter from your neighbor," said Churik.
First year students will participate in a variety of orientation programs August 18-21. Classes start Wednesday, August 22.
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