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Montana State University’s campus was packed Wednesday as parents and students hauled microwaves, mini fridges and boxes of clothes into dorm rooms.

An estimated 3,000 students moved into their new rooms on Move-In Day starting at 8 a.m. An official celebration took place at Yellowstone Hall, the newest of the residence halls. The Bobcat Cheer Team, Spirit Squad, Champ, and 500 other volunteers helped students move into their rooms.

President Waded Cruzado came to the celebration to meet new and returning students as they arrived.

Cruzado said that more students than ever before are living on campus. This comes after nearly a decade of steady growth and record-breaking enrollment almost every year.

“I always say (MSU grows) not only because we are attracting new students, but also because we’re doing a much better job keeping students here on campus,” Cruzado said.

Cruzado said that in the past, MSU has housed about 20% of its students. This year, about 28% of the student body will live on campus.

She said the university aims to make investments that are student-centered, like building new residence halls or renovating classrooms. Another residence hall will open next year and renovations on Romney Hall have begun.

“We apologize for the inconvenience, but quite honestly, we love cranes. We love the construction that’s going on on campus and we know it’s for a good reason,” Cruzado said.

The university enrolled almost 17,000 students last fall. Official enrollment numbers for fall 2019 will be released a few weeks into the semester.

Cara Lightfield from Lolo, Montana, helped her daughter, Madison, move into her new room Wednesday morning.

“We’re really impressed with Yellowstone Hall. It’s nicer than my college dorm,” Cara said.

Madison is excited to be back at MSU, and is starting her sophomore year. She said she loves Bozeman for its small-town feel and easy access to outdoor recreation.

New students have an eventful week ahead of them.

Freshman Convocation is scheduled for Thursday evening and will feature bestselling author Tara Westover. The event is sold out.

Cruzado, the marching band and MSU athletes will take over Main Street Friday for the annual Cat Walk.

Classes begin Monday.

“(Move-In Day) is the day when it all becomes real, when (students) come to see their new dorm, when they come to meet the people they’re going to be living with for the next four years,” Cruzado said.

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