the university exploded early Saturday morning with freshmen and upperclassmen
returning to their new homes.

According to Jim Grubb, director of residence halls administration,
this has been one of the smoothest check-ins ever, thanks to increased
maintenance from the Physical Plant and help from the UT Police Department.

With the largest class of freshman checking into the dorms in a decade,
more than 3,200 new students are filling the halls this year. Grubb estimates
a total of nearly 7,000 students will be living in the residence halls
after the final count is made. Students have until noon today to claim
their rooms.

"The staff has done a magnificent job this week," Grubb said.
"We started on Friday, and will continue through noon Wednesday. They
have done a great job, and we have had very few problems."

Having trained for this day for two weeks prior to moving in day, residence
hall staff members were prepared for the hectic rush of students and managed
to control the crowd as well as could be expected.

"Things are going great around here," said Darrell Hess,
Hess Hall Director. "It looks like chaos from the outside, but it
is actually going very smoothly. With a constant flow throughout the day,
things are going well. I've had a lot of parents comment on how smoothly
things are going."

From signing in new members to assigning luggage carts, resident assistants
spent the day welcoming new residents and assured them that things would
get better once everyone was settled into their new homes.

"The move is going very well," said Ryan Armstrong, a North
Carrick R.A. "I would think we would be backed up but we're not. We've
been on campus for a while preparing for this though, and I think we have
things under control."

Unsure what to expect their first day on campus, freshmen were anxious
but excited about the day and the upcoming semester.

"I am looking forward to meeting new people here," said Crystal
Roberts, a Clement resident. "Although I am anxious about the workload
and getting good grades, I am excited."

Throughout the weekend, volunteers from Calvary Baptist Church spread
throughout campus to help residents move into their rooms. They provided
many extra hands to help the process go smoothly.

With nearly 150 volunteers, the church helped Friday night as those
participating in Panhellenic rush moved in.

"Calvary has a special love for UT, because we were once located
on campus. We also believe it is a priority of our church to reach out
to college students, and do something tangible for them," said Joe
Drummer, college minister at Calvary.

Welcome Week continued through the weekend with a freshman picnic in
Circle Park on Sunday and Vol Fest '97 on Monday afternoon.

The first annual Vol Fest, one of the largest Welcome Week celebrations
at the university, included games such as the Bungee Run, a virtual reality
experience, live music, food and drinks. Sponsored by The United Residence
Halls Council, the Central Programming Council and The Student Government
Association, the event brought together students on campus for a long afternoon
of fun before classes begin.

"During my campaign last year, I mentioned a kickoff party to
begin the new year," said Andrew Roberto, president of the URHC. "Here,
we can show students and residents what their residence halls can do for
them. The more participation we get from programs such as this determines
the strength and growth of our organizations."

With information booths spread throughout the festivities for the URHC,
CPC and SGA, student leaders believed they played an important role by
informing students about many opportunities available for new students.

The students, on the other hand, were happy to get away from the chaos
of the residence halls for a little while and were thankful such an event
has been established.

"We came out here because we thought it would been a great way
to meet new people," said Lee Goan, a North Carrick resident. "It
was hectic the first couple of days, and we could use about 20 more elevators,
but all the R.A.s have been really helpful."

--> Wayne Murray stretches for distance in the bungee race
at Monday's VolFest '97. Wes Hope