How many trips would it take her and her friend to get everything to her room?

“A lot?” she wondered as she looked around, taking note of her blankets and containers.

Good answer.

Students and families from around the country arrived at the University of Louisville Aug. 15 to jump the last hurdle to the new fall semester — moving into campus housing.

The Office of Housing and Residence Life expected more than 2,000 first-year students. Cars wound through Belknap’s north entrance as families waited for a free unloading zone where they could unpack their intricately packed vehicles. Vans and SUVs, once driven by soccer moms, pulled duty as makeshift U-Hauls, chocked full of every new item a student could need.

Housing Director Shannon Staten said the process seemed to be going smoothly, thanks in large part to people from UPS and campus recognized student organizations (RSOs) who volunteered to help students and families with all of the heavy lifting.

President James Ramsey was among the move-in volunteers. He arrived at Miller at 11 a.m. to help students and even brought some extra muscle — Louie the Cardinal Bird.

“We hope there’s only light stuff to carry. I brought a helper, too,” Ramsey said, referring to his feathered friend. “We can put stuff on his back and fly it up.”

Luckily, Louie didn’t have to take to the sky. Good, old-fashioned muscle was enough, although sometimes the best intentions were thrown to the wind.

“It’s fun to watch because the parents come in and have their plan. Students come in with their own plan and by the end the day they’ve normally used a third way to get all moved in,” Staten said.

TVs, refrigerators, blankets, towels and bedding were just a few of the essentials that students brought with them.

“It’s kind of hard to know when to stop,” said Natalie Smith of Elizabethtown. “I tried to limit myself.”

Her pile was in the mid-range.

The move-in, she said, hadn’t been the mess she expected.

“So far, it’s been way better than I thought it would be,” Smith said.

Not far away, father Mondra Windom of Fort Knox stood outside Threlkeld Hall waiting for his son, Teontre, who was checking in. He looked over the items, questioning whether everything would fit in the small room built for two.

“I hope it all fits,” Windom said. “I kept fussing at home that he was taking too much.”

(Editor’s note: It’ll fit. It may not get used, but all the new belongings always fit.)

Windom said he and his son had been waiting for this day for a while.

“He hasn’t been able to sleep,” he said of his son.

There is a cautionary tale to any story, and here is this one’s: Heads up parents and siblings coming to help. You had best show up in your cardinal gear. Leave your past collegiate allegiances behind.

Otherwise, Michelle Massey, assistant director of Housing and Residence Life, may find you (in the nicest way possible).

Massey and Megan Adams of admissions spotted a father sporting a Western Kentucky University shirt while helping his student move in.

Massey promptly visited a nearby welcome tent selling “Proud Cardinal Parent” T-shirts and bought one for the dad. She told him the WKU shirt wasn’t going to cut it today.

“He took it in good humor,” Massey said, after she gave him his new shirt. He even let her snap some cell phone photos of him showing it off.

Brandy Warren
Brandy Warren is coordinator for marketing and communications in UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing, where she manages special events and promotes UofL’s Division of Student Affairs. She previously worked at daily newspapers in Kentucky and Alabama.