The Class of 2016 has officially arrived.
Quiet desperation papered the faces of parents and students during move-in last Saturday, but UTPD and the housing staff were calm and cool in the face of the surge.
Anxious freshmen spend weeks preparing for move-in day, but when the day finally arrives, all concerns fade save the singular purpose of transferring anything and everything into an allotted 12 ft. by 15 ft. space. The collective rush has potential to escalate into full-blown chaos. The sheer volume of traffic on campus alone can cause gridlock.
"It's been busy," Brewer Dell, a Campus Protection Specialist for UTPD, said. "Very busy."
But this was not UTPD's first time at bat. Though move-in generally takes the form of organized chaos, staff members were satisfied with this year's performance.
"Today has gone lovely," Jimmy Webb, another member of UTPD, said. "I've actually been enjoying it. Not everyone else is, but so far there have been no angry parents."
Webb said that move-in traffic picked up at 7:30 a.m., and cars still lined the street into the afternoon. Access to Andy Holt Ave. from Volunteer Blvd. was blocked off, and cars were queued along Volunteer to reach the residence halls and parking garages.
Though the actual move-in process can be grueling, once the unpacking is finished students finally get their first taste of college living.
Many honors students who moved in on Friday were already reporting a positive experience overall. The Honors Ambassadors Program, a student-led outreach group in the Chancellor's Honors Program, were on-site to assist students with the early move-in.
"Everyone has been really friendly and helpful," Kenny Hsueh, undecided freshman, said.
Some new arrivals were already experiencing the mixed emotions associated with leaving home. As students ventured out to explore campus, the excitement was palpable. Students were attempting to organize their rooms, make some new friends, and find a place to eat lunch.
"It's been overwhelming," Ellie Caughron, freshmen with pre-professional interest, said of her first 24 hours on campus.
Students who had already moved in were enthusiastic about the university programming they had experienced thus far, especially the perks.
"I would recommend that students participate in the Ignite program," Andrew Elmlinger, freshman in chemical engineering, said. "You even get to move in early."
Later in the day, students had the opportunity to attend the official Welcome Week Kickoff in Thompson-Boling Arena. Freshmen participated in the Big Day Out of community service on Monday, followed by the Torch Night ceremony Monday evening. Welcome Week events will continue through this weekend, and the full schedule of events can be found at http://welcomeweek.utk.edu/events.php.