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Brenau students move in Tuesday
More than 300 new students staying on campus
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Lia Thomas organizes clothes in her dorm room at Brenau University on Tuesday, the first day freshmen were able to move into their dorms. - photo by Erin O. Smith

More than 300 new students are making a home at Brenau University.

Posters of the boy band One Direction and the movie “Tomorrowland” were tacked to the walls of Brenau University dormitories as freshmen and transfer students moved in Tuesday.

Lia Thomas, a freshman in sports marketing from Atlanta, said she feels “excited” to be on campus.

“I first came to visit for basketball and to look at the campus,” Thomas said. “I really liked the campus and the people. Everyone was so nice.”

Shelby Marquardt and her roommate Lauren Hughes, both music majors and sopranos in the chorus department, unpacked their bags with their parents Tuesday morning.

Hughes, from Powder Springs, said she felt excited but a little bit nervous about the move.

“I’m not in that point where my parents can just come here every day,” she said. “They’re not going to wake me up every morning. I’m really by myself now. It’s one of those things that’s going to be a transition.”

Marquardt, who is from Athens, said she dual-enrolled at University of Georgia the last two years, so the transition is easier for her.

“The big difference for me is being here, instead of Athens,” she said.

Just fewer than 400 students total are registered to live in Brenau on-campus housing this year, according to school officials. Returning Brenau students moved in earlier than the new freshmen and transfer students, as most moved in over the weekend.

Tuesday’s move-in day festivities also included orientation sessions in the afternoon for residential and nonresidential students. Brenau also has an “opening ceremony” tradition to welcome students back to Gainesville, and a welcome dinner for students, which was in the dining hall.

Hughes said being at Brenau still feels “surreal” to her.

“I was just applying for school, getting accepted to school, and it was just like, ‘Oh, I’m going to college!’” she said. “But now I’m moving in. I’m really in college now.”

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