It was nearly impossible to miss the hundreds of cars crawling down Grand Avenue on Thursday morning, a yearly signal announcing the beginning of the University of Wyoming’s fall semester.
More than 1,900 students are expected to fill the university’s six residence halls by the weekend, said Eric Webb, director of residence life and dining services.
Thursday morning was one of the busiest of the weekend.
“As of 10:07 a.m., we had 905 students checked in to their rooms,” he said. “We’ll have about 85 percent of our students checked in (Thursday).”
Students can still move in throughout the weekend, although most move in as early as they can, Webb said, to begin the college experience.
“We have a lot of Cowboy Connect programs,” he said. “We try to get them in early enough so they can start doing some of the events and get adjusted before classes.”
Usually, sophomores and upperclassmen move into the dorms during the weekend, while Thursday is mostly freshmen such as Chris Kimzey.
“It’s really exciting,” he said. “I mean, I’m nervous but pumped to see what’s next.”
The physics major is set up on the 11th floor of McIntyre Hall — a floor specifically for engineers. A couple of people he went to high school with in Pine Bluffs are also on the floor, making it a little easier to meet the other floormates.
Phillip Kelly, a freshman chemistry major, is moving from Colorado and doesn’t know quite as many people.
“I know three people here,” he said. “Well, I met my roommate five minutes ago, so I guess I know four people.”
While he’s not worried about meeting people, Kelly said he’s nervous about the upcoming months of classes and the college experience.
“I’m kind of panicked,” he said. “I’m just worried about everything.”
Both Kelly and Kimzey will take advantage of the plethora of events available to new students, they said.
“There’s the spirit march tomorrow, they’re doing a movie tomorrow night, so there’s a lot to do this weekend,” Kimzey said. “I think it’s going to be great start.”
UW President Dick McGinity gave a helping hand to new students taking their first step toward earning a degree at the university.
“It’s so great to get out of the office and get to know some of the young people who are the reasons why we are here,” he said. “I was in the classroom for six years, and I get a charge out of looking at these folks and remembering how it was like starting out.”
A small army of volunteers worked alongside McGinity to keep the students flowing — about 200 volunteers in total, Webb said.
Kenneth Stacy, a student advisor in the Student Success Services, said people around the community came out to volunteer.
“It’s a good community event, and we want to make a good first college experience,” he said. “The whole Greek life is here, a lot of faculty, just people from all over the university.”
Others from local religious groups came to help the freshmen and introduce themselves.
“There are a lot of churches here helping out,” said Pastor Brad Eakins. “We like helping and giving back to the community.”