What has become an annual ritual in this college town will happen next week when volunteers line up to help arriving Montana State University students move into their dorm rooms on campus.

MSU is asking those volunteers to sign up now by calling the president’s office at (406) 994-2345. Callers can choose a time slot to work on Wednesday, Aug. 21, and choose a task to perform – from greeting students at the curb to unloading cars and loading carts to helping with recycling. In return for a little sweat, those volunteers will receive a free T-shirt.

More than 3,000 students are expected to be moving into the dorms. Volunteering to help them is a chance to participate in launching the new academic year and meet some students and their families in the process. It’s also a chance to welcome this force to contend with that will be descending on the community.

Taken by itself, the MSU campus is a sizable town by Montana standards. And when out-of-town and out-of-state students dwell on campus for nine months of the year, it changes things for the whole community – a lot. Starting next week, traffic will become noticeably heavier. Lines at checkouts will become longer. Sidewalks will become more crowded. Getting seated at local eateries will take longer.

But for all the hassles the students bring to town, there are the many benefits. MSU and its student body are the economic engine that makes Southwest Montana thrive. The university and its enrollment generate millions of dollars in spending in local businesses, helping those businesses thrive and create jobs.

On balance, the benefits MSU students offer far outweigh the downsides to a community that’s a little more crowded than it was over the lazy months of summer. Helping those students move into their rooms is a great way to say thanks for that and have a little fun in the process.

Registration for volunteers ends on Aug. 18. So those interested will want to pick up the phone today and sign up for this special event.

Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Nick Ehli, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Don Beeman, community member
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Sarabeth Rees, community member
  • David Swingle, community member

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