MANKATO — Deb Ulrich of Norwood admitted she was a little bit emotional on move-in day. She was, after all, sending her youngest child, Jayme, off to college.
On Thursday afternoon, across the street from the Julia A. Sears Residence Community, Deb and two of her three children were packing a cart high with Jayme’s stuff.
“I don’t think this is going to work, girls,” Deb said of the bulging cart. But the girls insisted it would stay upright, and moved on out.
About nine in 10 first-year students live on campus or university-managed apartments, and most of them moved in Thursday. The class of 2017 is expected to be MSU’s largest ever, a bit bigger than last year’s cohort of 2,311. The university has a goal of increasing enrollment by 1.5 percent each year through 2017.
In a nearby parking lot, the Miller family loaded the last of daughter Geena’s possessions into a cart. The Zumbrota woman is excited about starting class and playing on the volleyball and basketball club teams. She said she picked MSU for its pre-professional occupational therapy program and because the campus was pretty.
It’s only 90 minutes away from home, her mother, Lisa, added. Geena is her youngest child, too, and it looks like her absence hasn’t yet sunk in.
“Ask me when we leave,” Lisa said, laughing. The finality of it, in other words, might not hit her until she and her husband, John, pull out of the parking lot. Or maybe not until they get home.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself,” Lisa said.
About 2,800 students live on campus, a number mostly unchanged from last year. There are about 60 students living in temporary housing — a lounge converted into a dorm, that sort of thing — and waiting to move into permanent space.