Hundreds of students, parents and relatives descended on the University of South Carolina Beaufort's Hilton Head Gateway campus Sunday in Bluffton, setting up dorm rooms and saying goodbyes to kick off another school year.
Almost 600 students were expected to check in Sunday for the campus move-in day, with the majority of those students freshmen, said housing and judicial affairs director Deonne Whaley. Classes begin at the university on Thursday.
Another 10 or 12 students moved into the Grace White House across the street from the Historic Beaufort campus Sunday, said vice chancellor of student development Doug Oblander.
The majority of students moving in during the morning and early afternoon were freshmen like Brett Berlin. Berlin, who plans to study business, said he was excited to meet his four roommates and start college.
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"I went to high school in New York, so I don't know many people around here," he said. "I'm excited to meet my roommates and make new friends. It's much different here than New York. The weather is much nicer."
Oblander said the school suggested freshmen report earlier in the day and upperclassmen move in during the afternoon.
Sophomore Dezmon Brown, a nursing major at the school, said his second move-in day was easier than the first.
"I know what to do this time because I've done it before," he said. "It should go faster."
More than 100 returning students and faculty helped run the move-in day. Many of the student volunteers were athletes on the school's sports teams, Oblander said.
The event featured music, food, snow cones and free items and was coordinated by recent USC Beaufort hospitality graduate Erica Moore.
Moore, heading into the final week of her summer internship with the school, said her experience living at the Gateway campus and having to move in herself four times helped her make the event more enjoyable for students and their parents.
"I wanted this to be a 'welcome to school' celebration instead of just 'come get your keys,'" she said. "I think it's been a smoother transition than from when I was a freshman here."
This move-in day also marked the opening of the school's seventh residence hall at the Gateway campus, the Chechessee River Building, Whaley said.
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.