USC's population ballooned by about 4,500 Saturday morning as expectant freshmen and emotional parents unloaded, waited, hauled, arranged, rearranged, complained, argued, hugged and cried in the annual tradition that is freshman move-in day.
Frenzied action began before 7:30 a.m. and will continue throughout the day, as late stragglers trickle into a buzzing, chaotic campus rife with long-awaited life.
Here were a few scenes from across campus Saturday morning:
Patterson Hall swung open its majestic doors Saturday morning to meet a snaking line that soon zigzagged across Bull Street into the Bull Street garage's shadows.
Near the very back of that line stood Brenda Cross. Now, Cross had done this before—she recently moved her son into Ohio State University.
And she was not happy. There were only 10 carts for all these students. The line kept growing longer. And it kept getting hotter. Sure, the dorm was nice, she said.
But Cross was tired of looking at the exterior and wanted in.
"Ohio State does this so much better," she said. "We pulled up at our appointed time there and they moved us right in."
Such was life outside Patterson Hall Saturday morning. Those who received a prime spot in the pristine residence hall—lauded for its large rooms, beautiful study areas and conditions that seem more like a hotel than a residence hall— knew they were lucky to be there.
It just didn't feel that way to those at the back of the line.
At the front, the mood was cheerier. Charlotte White moved her twins, Clair Carson and Charlotte Carson, into Patterson Hall Saturday almost three decades after she moved out.
"When I was here in 1982, it needed renovations," she said with a chuckle. "I can't get over how nice it is."
All quiet on the Capstone front
Across the way at Capstone House and Columbia Hall, all seemed well.
Volunteers there said wait times to move in were well under one hour. Parents drove right up to the curb, unloaded belongings and parked nearby. The line was contained inside the lobby of both buildings. There was little chaos at Bates West or Bates House either.
Who seemed to have the best day Saturday? Bryan Bricker.
The incoming freshman from Maryland arranged his room late Friday night as part of the university's early move in program.
"It was really, really smooth," he said. "I'd most definitely recommend it."
He was only moving a few final items in Saturday morning, with the help of his parents and sister, who lived in Capstone herself.
Move in day brings a captive audience and packed parking lots full of hungry and thirsty parents.
That reality wasn't lost on Witt Bauknight and Drew Moore, two local high schoolers who sold baked goods outside Capstone House Saturday morning.
Bauknight, a freshman at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, and Moore, a sophomore at Hammond School, are both Sea Scouts — a division of Boy Scouts that focuses solely on nautical activities. They're raising funds to visit New York City or Baltimore next year for their organization's Bicentennial celebration.
"We just set up shop and haven't sold anything yet," Bauknight said around 10:30 a.m. "Come back in an hour, and maybe we'll be sold out."
Where's Dr. Pastides?
In a welcoming gesture, USC's president typically unloads boxes, smiles for cameras and greets freshmen and their parents on move in day.
President Harris Pastides wasn't there Saturday, and a university spokeswoman said he was "away on university business." A university travel schedule had Pastides in Indianapolis until Friday.
He's expected to speak at convocation tomorrow, but a report from The New York Times said 11 of the 12 SEC presidents will attend a secret meeting at a undisclosed location Sunday to discuss Texas A&M joining the SEC. Calls to Pastides' cell phone weren't immediately returned Saturday.
The fun has just begun
Freshmen are invited to attend "First Night Carolina," a Williams-Brice Stadium extravaganza tonight with music, food and several high-profile speakers, including men's basketball coach Darrin Horn and women's basketball coach Dawn Staley.
There are a variety of welcome events for the upcoming week, including: an outdoor screening of "Little Fockers" on the Blatt PE fields Sunday night, a Russell House party Monday night, a free concert outside the student union Tuesday night, and the annual pool party Wednesday afternoon.