NEW ALBANY — As Ellie Jackman moved into her Indiana University Southeast residence hall this week, she was prepared to start a new phase of her life.

The incoming freshman, who is from Brazil, Ind., came to IUS to study biology and play softball, and she was excited for the freedom and independence of college life.

"I'm looking forward to being more on my own and just seeing how I do," she said.

On Thursday, the majority of students settled in at the IUS residence halls as student volunteers assisted them with the move-in. Nearly 400 students are moving into on-campus housing this week, and classes will begin Monday.

Student volunteers helped students move items into their rooms on Thursday. About 5,300 students are enrolled at IUS this year, including more than  1,200 new students, according to IUS Chancellor Ray Wallace, who helped students with the move-in process.

"This is an exciting time for us," Wallace said. "I love the start of the semester. I love commencements, but getting the new students in is lovely. Everyone's excited and a little nervous, and parents are both happy and sad...the students are nervous, but they don't want mom and dad cramping their style too much."

IUS's five residence halls, which provides apartment-style housing, are completely full. The fully-furnished "lodges" include kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms. Abbie Dupay, IUS's director of residence life and housing, said they are like "mini-homes."

Wallace said about 8 to 9 percent of students live in the residence halls.

"What we're finding is that students who live on campus are great at recruiting off-campus students to stay and be part of the clubs and organizations," he said. "So we've really increased our numbers of clubs and organizations. We have a fairly decent Greek life group and we have good intramurals."

Dupay said she was excited to introduce new students to IUS and to see returning students come "back home" for welcome week. The residence halls typically consist of about 60 percent freshman and 40 percent upperclassmen.

"We have students from all the state who live with us, people from Indiana and Kentucky, people from farther— we have all sorts of people who live with us," she said.

She said students who are involved on campus, whether they live on-campus or participate in student organizations, are more successful in their academic career.

"Having students move in, it's like we're getting them started, we're getting them on the right foot and we're helping them be successful," she said. "This first week, we have activities every day going on for helping them find friends, getting comfortable on campus and asking questions."

The university has a number of new degree programs this school year, and it has added 17 new faculty members, according to Wallace. He said IUS is an ideal college for students who want to stay in the Louisville metropolitan area while receiving a classic degree from Indiana University, and he encourages students to study hard as they start the semester.

"Your career and the improvement in your life has a great deal to do with the undergraduate degree and graduate degree that you get," he said. "An undergraduate education will change your life if your let it, so work hard."

Incoming freshman Brooklyn Gonzales, who lives near Santa Claus, Ind., moved into a residence hall Thursday. She said she looked forward to meeting new people, particularly since she doesn't know many people from her high school who are attending IUS. She will be studying elementary education, and she hopes to play intramural sports such as flag football.

"I'm just looking forward to something different, because everyone from my school's going to USI or Purdue, and IUS is in the other direction, and there's maybe three of us [from high school] going here," she said.

IUS junior Gus Blackford, who studies geoscience and sustainability, is among the students living on-campus. He enjoys living in the residence halls both for the convenience and the social aspects.

"You make a lot of friends," he said. "Every year you can look forward to meeting new least for the first week or so, everyone's in each other's dorms. It's pretty crazy."

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