August 23. 2013 9:44PM

Move-In Day in Durham

UNH freshmen find new homes and browse for some 'treasure'

Union Leader Correspondent

The Gracia family of Durham, N.C., lug some finds from the University of New Hampshire Trash 2 Treasure sale to Jessica Gracia's new dorm on Friday. From left are Brianna Gracia, 12, Jessica Gracia, 18 and mom Christy Gracia. Friday was move-in day for incoming UNH freshmen. (GRETYL MACALASTER/Union Leader Correspondent)

DURHAM — Sidewalks at the University of New Hampshire were full of boxes, bags and furniture on Friday as freshmen moved into campus ahead of the start of classes on Monday.

Ruth Abelmann, associate director of residential life on campus, said the move-in day system is now a "well-oiled machine" and the morning saw few traffic, parking or congestion problems.

Upperclassmen will start moving in over the weekend.

Chris St. Onge, 19, of Kingston said he had no idea what to expect during his first weekend on campus, but was ready to embrace it.

"I'll just try to meet a lot of people and get a feel for everything," St. Onge said as he lugged his belongings into Stoke Hall on Friday morning.The political science major said he looked at both sports and school size when applying to college, and chose UNH for the level of activity on campus.

On Friday night students were invited to enjoy free ice cream outside of the Dimond Library, and participate in an evening of games, music and camaraderie at the Whittemore Center. On Saturday, the freshmen class is scheduled to have a pep rally at the Field House.

The Gracia family traveled from one Durham to another to move in 18-year-old Jessica Gracia for her first year at UNH.

The family arrived from North Carolina in the wee hours of Friday morning and mom, Christy, planned to spend a week with her younger daughter, Brianna, 12, before returning home.

Jessica Gracia said she chose UNH because she liked the campus, the people and received a gymnastics scholarship to attend.

On Friday morning, Christy Gracia said she was excited to be delivering her oldest daughter to college, but was sure the sadness would set in.

"I keep telling her that she's not allowed to go," Brianna Gracia said. "But she's not really listening."

The younger Gracia has already decided that she, too wants to attend UNH when the time comes.

The family visited colleges all around the country before landing on UNH.

"We just fell in love. It reminds us of our Durham back home," Christy Gracia said.

The Whittemore Center was the place to be for many students looking to pick up items they forgot or cheap hand-me-down furniture.

Student organizers of the third annual Trash 2 Treasure sale said more than 140 people turned out early and they expected to break last year's Friday sales record of $13,000. The sale continues through the weekend and allows families to pick up everything from shower caddies to couches for their students' dorms and apartments. All of the items were collected at the end of the last school year by the student-led organization.

Trash 2 Treasure coordinator and UNH junior Sophie Rathjen said the event is also a good introduction to student life and what students are involved with on campus.

A spirit squad roamed campus welcoming students and helping them to feel like Wildcats while families explored campus after getting everything moved in.

Joanne and Paul Miller of Derry dropped off their daughter Alyssa, 18, at Randall Hall.

"It's letting go. It's difficult, but I think it is going to be a great experience for her," Joanne Miller said.