The clouds kept the temperature down but the moods were sunny and bright at University of Arkansas - Fort Smith on Aug. 17 when freshmen moved into campus housing.

The process was smooth and cheerful as students and their parents rolled up, discharged their luggage and then went to The Lion’s Den student housing to pick up their keys and see their new dorm rooms.

Student and staff volunteers formed the Chancellor’s Move-In Crew that helps simplify a potentially frustrating and exhausting experience.

The Lion's Den, located on the corner of Waldron and Kinkead, opened in fall 2010 and primarily houses freshmen students. It has indoor corridor entrances to student rooms. Sebastian Commons, which was occupied earlier in the week, is located west of the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center, is apartment-style housing.

Beth Eppinger, director of housing and residential life, said 120 volunteers helped calm down 440 frazzled first-year residential students and their worried parents when they took care of the heavy lifting and traffic control. She said nearly 1,000 residential students moved into the dorms and apartments in a matter of a week.

Chancellor Paul B. Beran and First Lady Janice Beran were on hand to welcome students and greet parents.

“I think parents want to know that the CEO is interested and cares about the health and safety of their students,” Beran said. “This is important to them.”

Parents such as Deanna Johns of Alma concurred.

“This means a lot to a parent,” said Johns. Her daughter Jordon is an incoming accounting major. “Jordan never considered anywhere else, and we wanted her to have her own space but to not be too far away.”

Eppinger said the Chancellor’s Move-In Crew made it happen.

“They showed new students a welcome smile and some needed help and proved that UAFS is a totally awesome place to be a student.”