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URI sophomore Alison Bayreuther, left, and junior Sarah Egan get some help from “Rhody the Ram” while moving the belongings of other students into the Butterfield Residence Hall on Aug. 31 at the Kingston campus.

KINGSTON, R.I. – Students pushed carts loaded with clothes, mini refrigerators and flat screen televisions into the dorm buildings at the University of Rhode Island during Labor Day weekend, and celebrated the annual move-in with the school’s Rhody the Ram mascot and its president.

Activity was brisk Saturday morning in front of Adams Residence Hall, where President David M. Dooley and Rhody stopped to greet first-year students unloading their belongings from family cars and SUVs parked nearby.

Classes started Wednesday.

Dooley spent most of the day Saturday and Sunday visiting each dorm building on move-in days, which he’s done each of his 11 years as president.

“They’ve gotten better every year,” he said. “Everybody’s ready. The new engineering building will be ready for classes on Wednesday. They had crews working over Labor Day weekend on that.”

Roadwork throughout campus also was completed, and additional emergency power generators have been installed in the dorm buildings over the summer.

“We’ve done a lot of work in the residence halls and got it all done for move-in,” he said.

Students in fraternities and sororities formed volunteer teams to help incoming students move into the dorms.

“It’s sort of an all hands on deck weekend at the university, and people have been doing it for awhile so it really goes smoothly,” Dooley said. “We get a lot of compliments from folks.”

Among the students moving into Adams was John Lombardo, a sophomore majoring in business  management from New Jersey.

As a gift to Lombardo, his mom Teri made her son a custom painted URI sign that says “Rhody” on its front.

“We’re going to figure out where to hang it,” she said.

Besides family and friends, what will Lombardo, 19, miss the most from home while he’s at URI?

“Pork rolls from New Jersey,” he said.

A couple of floors up, a similar scene was taking place for Connor Macmorran of Albany, New York. His mother, Christine, drove from Albany with Connor and his sister Meghan, who also attends URI. He’s a freshman studying marketing.

“It’s nice, a lot more room than I thought,” he said of his dorm room.

Outside, a group of upperclassmen resident advisers also helped the students get acquainted with their new homes.

“It started at 7:30, people were lining up to get in here,” adviser Kaela Bergeron, of Scituate, said.

Most students bring in mattress padding, refrigerators and “giant TVs,” the group said, as well as rugs.

“One of my residents had a huge URI locker. It was really cool, but it wasn’t going to fit,” Bergeron said.

It’s also a new experience for first-year resident advisers like Emma McGrath of Warwick and Devan Eason, of Waterbury, Connecticut.

“It’s great. I love it so far. I’m excited,” Eason said.

Adviser Kate Raimond, of Burrillville, said that later on Sunday night, freshmen would celebrate “First Night” a big event marking move-in and the coming start of classes.

“There’s all the clubs, food trucks, fun things to do,” she said.

The incoming Class of 2023 is made up largely of students born post-9/11. They join more than 500 transfer students, 2,000 graduate students and thousands of returning URI students to compose a student body of about 17,000, according to the university.

Members of the Class of 2023 will be among the first to take classes and conduct research in The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering, the hub of the university’s $150 million engineering complex. Open to students for the first time at the start of the fall semester, the official ribbon-cutting is set for Oct. 7.

The university released several facts about this year’s incoming students. Among them:

Incoming students will represent more than 40 states, territories and countries.

The first-year class is made up of approximately 57 percent women and 43 percent men, which is consistent with national enrollment figures.

Over 47 percent of new students hail from Rhode Island, with Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey rounding out the top five states, respectively.

More than 5,700 students will reside in on-campus housing for the fall semester, a significant portion of whom will be first-year students. That number will increase by 500 when the new Brookside dorm opens in January.

More than 800 students will live in one of the 17 sororities, fraternities or specialty houses on campus, including two for International Engineering Program students and one located at the Women’s Center.

The most popular majors for the incoming class include computer science, criminology, business, engineering, kinesiology, biological science and nursing.

URI will award more than $100 million in undergraduate financial aid and scholarships.

rblessing@independentri.com

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