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More than 2,600 GSU students at'Operation Move In'

    As Jean Williams stood in in the RAC on Georgia Southern's campus waiting for her son to check in, she had a mixture of emotions.
    "It's a happy time and also a sad time," she said. "He's the last one I have home."
    Her son, Everton, was among the more than 2,600 Georgia Southern students who were expected to check into their residence halls Friday during the school's "Operation Move In."
    "I know he's coming here to better himself and get an education," she said. "I'm very proud of him."
    For the third year, students initially went to the Recreation Activity Center to check in and get their keys before embarking to their new homes. Vicki Hawkins, director of housing for GSU, said having everyone come to a central location allows for different departments to be on hand to provide information to students and parents.
    "We want to make sure the parents have all the things they need," she said.
    Check in times were assigned by birthdays to avoid a big rush of students early in the morning. Despite that, Hawkins said there was still a large crowd at 9 a.m. when the doors opened.
    However, this year student identification cards were scanned as the way of checking them in, making the process go very quickly. Hawkins said they hoped to have students checked in within five minutes of them getting there.
    The university is expecting record enrollment this year with more than 17,000 students attending classes in the fall. Official numbers won't be available until October. Classes start Monday.
    To aid with the process, more than 150 faculty and staff and 300 students volunteered to help move in the students.
    "We view this as another welcoming event," Hawkins said. "We pride ourselves on being a student-centered university and having 400 volunteers shows that."
    She also said they had 10,000 bottles of water to give out to help people cool off as they battled temperatures in the triple digits Friday.
    Zak Taylor was also among those moving in on Friday. He said he picked Georgia Southern because he had a lot of friends who were also attending the school.
    "I'm really excited," he said about starting. "I can't wait."
    Likewise, Taylor's father, Ron Taylor, said he was excited about his son beginning college.
    "He's got a great opportunity to go to school."
    And even though it's among the busiest days of the year for Hawkins, she said it was "the highlight of the year."
    "It's a new beginning," she said. "Everybody is excited about getting a new school year started."

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