The essentials of college life, circa 2014, overflowed the oversized laundry carts at the University of Minnesota on Monday, as freshmen began to squeeze into their dorms for the fall semester.
Flat-screen TVs. Microwaves. Futons. Someone even brought a lounge chair.
But an army of volunteers in yellow T-shirts — mostly older students — kept the carts moving with cheerful efficiency.
“How many do you need?” one young woman asked Kim Kampsen, of Rogers, who was helping her daughter Alyssa, 18, move into Centennial Hall.
“Two, at least,” Kampsen said.
The young woman surveyed the girl’s belongings spread out on the lawn. “I can give you three.”
By the time classes start next week, more than 7,000 students will be living on the U’s Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses, including 88 percent of the freshman class, according to university officials. In fact, so many have requested campus housing that about 165 students will end up in what the U calls “expanded housing” — living in modified study lounges or doubling up in single rooms. “The demand for housing is high again this year,” said spokesman Steve Henneberry.
For the new freshmen, the U has packed this week with events to help them acclimate to campus life: get-togethers, concerts, mini-seminars and free tickets to Thursday’s opening game of the Gophers’ football season.
But Monday was the day to unload the SUVs and try to make the Spartan dorm rooms feel like home.
Pat Spracklin, of Kenosha, Wis., stood outside his daughter Anna’s dorm with a mattress-sized futon, predicting it wouldn’t fit. This was the second daughter he had moved to college since Saturday, he noted, and he was a bit worn down. “I’m anxious to go to work tomorrow and rest,” he said.
For many parents, though, the toughest part was still ahead.
“I keep telling her I can’t wait to be an empty nester,” said Kim Kampsen, of her daughter. “But I’m going to miss her. The house is going to be really quiet.”
Annette Berg, of Duluth, seemed to be fighting back tears even as she helped daughter Rachel, 18, push her moving cart to the service elevator.
“Yes, very sad,” she admitted, noting that this is her first child to leave home. So, what does she plan to do after they say goodbye? “Go home and cry,” she said.