The colorful, snaking line of suitcases, boxes and rubber containers at the edge of Scholars Lane on Friday could mean only one thing: Move-In Day at UC Merced.
It was the biggest move-in to date at the five-year-old campus, and on-campus housing options were sold out, spokeswoman Tonya Luiz said.
Some 1,200 students will live in one of the 11 dorm buildings on the west side of campus this year.
Campus officials expect a total enrollment of 3,200 students, with 1,300 new freshmen, transfer and graduate students starting next week.
Here, the Sun-Star profiles some of Merced’s newest residents:
Kaitlyn Tramontana, 18, Sunnyvale
Tramontana spared nothing in her move from Silicon Valley to Merced: seven family members in three vehicles helped the bubbly freshman move into her modest Mariposa Hall triple-residency room.
"For three women, no way," her grandfather Phil McKay from Santa Maria said after taking a peek into her new digs. "Sons travel with a suitcase. Daughters travel with a full house."
Tramontana chose to attend UC Merced after receiving a generous scholarship. "I also like it because it is the newest UC, and I can be a part of the development," she said.
While she may hit the mark in the classroom, during move-in it was all playful jokes from the family:
"Her father went out and bought her everything she needs to open a Wal-Mart," stepmom Liz Tramontana said.
Brian Hoang, 18, Huntington Beach
Hoang arrived in Merced on Thursday night with a modest one suitcase and five small paper boxes filled with personal belongings.
"We didn't splurge or anything" when shopping or packing, said Christina Hoang, Brian's sister. "We were reasonable."
Brian Hoang's sister, mother, father and family dog were on hand to help him move into his new room in Tuolumne Hall.
"It feels good," Brian said, packing boxes onto a dolly. "I feel independent."
Why did Brian choose UC Merced?
"It's far. I want to meet new people," he said.
Lauren Dalupan, 18, Folsom
"I brought a lot," said Dalupan, as her mother brought in another batch of belongings from the curb. "At least eight different bins or bags. I hope I'm not the only one that brought so much."
Dalupan arrived in Merced on Thursday night with her parents, Theresa and Al. She will be living in Tuolumne Hall with two other roommates.
"It feels surreal. It hasn't quite hit me yet that I am a college student," Dalupan said.
Theresa Dalupan was all smiles during the move-in.
"I'm very excited for her. Very excited because I didn't get to do this myself," said Theresa, who attended college in her native San Francisco but never lived in a dorm.
Nick Self, 18, Newport Beach
Nick and his parents, Michael and Hema, left Newport Beach early Friday morning to arrive on campus early for move-in.
Their early arrival was a good thing too, as Nick tried to shove all of the belongings in his nine boxes under one half of the bunk bed. Then there was the mini-fridge and the shelving unit.
"This is the first time he has ever lived somewhere other than the place he was brought home to from the hospital," Michael Self said of the new, smaller accommodations.
Nick said he chose UC Merced for one reason: "Yosemite."
A chemical sciences major, Nick had visited the national park a couple times a year before enrolling here.
Now he will visit more often, he said, showing off a photo he had recently shot at Tenaya Creek that he will hang on the bare walls of his new room.
Reporter Danielle Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.