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August 23, 2012
By John Trent
All the telltale signs were there.
Mini-fridges in boxes of varying states of newness and oldness. Sets of plastic drawers on wheels that wobbled but somehow found their destination. Crates overflowing with clothes. Ink-jet printers that looked more like microwaves. Microwaves that looked more like ink-jet printers. Monstrously sized framed posters.
And of course, there were the students, and more than a few parents, and scores of volunteers and staff representing the University of Nevada, Reno on Aug. 23, 2012 - residence hall move-in day and the unofficial beginning of the fall semester on campus.
It was perhaps the busiest move-in day ever at the University, with residence hall assignments up 8 percent over fall 2011, and more than 2,450 students assigned to residence halls this fall, compared to 2,267 assignments in fall 2011.
Rachel Maas, a freshman from Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, brought along a friend, Tony Bustos, a student at Sacramento State University, on Thursday to help make the process as easy as possible.
"You've got to bring the muscle," Maas said, pointing to a smiling Bustos.
Maas was moving into the Nevada Living Learning Community on Thursday morning, and even as she and Bustos were preparing to figure out how to get her things inside, the journalism major was already impressed with what she had seen.
"It's really nice," she said of the University's newest residence hall, which was completed earlier this summer. Her eyes grew wide as she described her new living space: "The showers are huge," she said. "It's the new (residence hall), so I'm really excited."
Maas will be attending the University this fall along with her twin brother, Ryan, who will be living in Nye Hall.
She said her mother had heard about the University from a co-worker, the family had made a visit, and both students' path to Reno was sealed not long after.
"We both really liked it," she said.
Bustos, who will be a freshman at Sacramento State on Monday, echoed his friend: "I actually love this campus, too. I would've gone here except for the location in the winter and the snow. But I love everything else about it."
Maas said her excitement on Thursday would probably turn to nervousness by Monday and the beginning of instruction.
"I'm excited, but I'm kind of nervous about Monday," said Maas, who one day hopes to write online and for magazines. "On Monday, I'm probably going to get scared that I won't be able to find my classes. On Monday, I'm going to walk into the wrong one, and I'll be like, 'Oh, sorry.'"
But if Thursday was any indication, Maas should be fine. She had come to campus plenty prepared, with plenty of personal supplies.
"It's a lot of stuff," she said with a laugh, noting that she and Bustos would also be helping her brother with his move into Nye. "After we get all of my stuff (moved in), we have to get all of his stuff. So, it's going to be a long, unpacking day."
Nearby, the parking structure next to the Nevada Living Learning Community was buzzing with activity as students and their families unloaded clothing and other items from their cars.
The new students were helped to their new residences by dozens of members from the University's Greek community, who wore Nevada blue T-shirts with the words "Leave A Legacy" emblazoned on the back.
"Today's the day for mini-fridges," one of the male members of the Greek community said cheerily as he capably grasped a mini-fridge in a decaying box. "No need for me to go to the gym today!"
Not far away a parent from an upper level of the parking structure called to a couple of female members of the Greek community, "Hey you guys, back me up on this - tell my wife how exhausted I will be tonight after I've gone up and down to the fourth floor 15 times this morning!"
The female students waved and nodded, while the parent returned to his car, no doubt preparing for a 16th trip to the fourth floor.
Helping make the move-in easier were seniors Ashley Payne, from northern California, and Sara Sinnett, from Reno, both Greek volunteers who were helping Thursday.
Sinnett said the morning had already brought back a rush of memories when she was a freshman, and was taking her first few, tentative steps onto campus.
"We were actually taking about it this morning," she said. "To look back on it, and realize that we're seniors now, and we're helping these first-year students, we were both sort of like, 'Ohhh, they're moving in.' It's kind of cute. Seeing all of the opportunities that they have in front of them, and seeing how excited they all are, it's pretty neat."
Payne and Sinnett were asked what advice they would give the class of 2016.
"I would say two things: Go to class, and be organized," Sinnett said.
"And get involved," Payne added. "Don't just sit in the back of the classroom. Get involved in some way. It will make a big difference in how much they enjoy their college experience."
Sinnett said it was easy to help out on Thursday, given how much she has enjoyed her time at the University.
"I was born and raised in Reno, so I've been going to football games since I was a baby," she said. "I just have always loved this campus. I love it here, and I tell people about how great it is all the time. I have a lot of pride in this University."