ANDERSON — The leaves were starting to turn along University Avenue. The main campus of Anderson University still had that sleepy feeling on Thursday, but approaching Colts Way, the mood changed entirely.
There was the low thump of the band’s drum beat. The sound of Mumford and Sons, punctuated by the occasional blast of a vuvuzela, blared. You might have found yourself ducking for a Frisbee.
“This is just a great day to move in, people!” shouted junior Bizzy Weinland. She was sporting a neon security vest to help steer dazed parents into unloading spots.
Weinland was among a throng of orange-shirted volunteers, including members of the AU football team, faculty, staff and students, who staged themselves between Dunn and Rice residence halls along Colts Way. They were busily welcoming the new residents.
“This is a great time of year — one of my favorite moments of the school year,” said AU communications director Chris Williams. “It’s a community experience.”
Another mini-van pulled in loaded up with all the paraphernalia of dorm life, a nervously excited student, and a beleaguered looking parent. Within moments of their tired arrival, the van was swarmed by orange shirts who quickly unloaded the contents onto the lawn, and then delivered it all to the dorm room.
It was a scene that was repeated over and over with bedding, duffel bags, refrigerators, speakers, lamps, printers, snack food, TV’s, bicycles, backpacks and rubber totes wending their way from the parking area into the halls.
“I love the look on parents’ faces when they pull in exhausted and we huddle around the car and say, ‘Where do you want this?’” said volunteer and 1974 grad George Nailywaiko. “Sometimes mom bursts into tears.”
Amy Byrne from Indianapolis stood by her daughter’s pile of belongings as she got checked in. Once freshman Marni Byrne had her room assignment, she and mom just stood back as AU football players whisked her stash away.