STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) – It is by far the largest university in Connecticut. With more than 30,000 students, the University of Connecticut doesn’t just have a day but a long move-in weekend to kick off the school year.

Getting to campus bright and early on day one was Sydney Brown, a first-year student from Redding, Penn.

“I just loved the campus as soon as I walked onto it,” she said. “It was the first campus I looked at, and I compared everything else to it, and I loved it.”

Brown is the youngest of her siblings, so for her father, Terry Brown, this is the last freshman to experience move-in day.

“Mixed emotions,” he said. “Excited for her and everything she looks forward to, but sad for us. We’re going to be empty nesters now.”

UConn’s move-in day takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday. All transfer and returning students will be able to move in this weekend.

The Cusano family had a much shorter trip from Rocky Hill.

“I have a lot of friends here,” said incoming freshman Dominic Cusano. “I know it’s a great school. I’m doing mechanical engineering, so it’s a great school for all of that.”

“I feel like I’m going back to school,” said his father, Todd Cusano. “I’m an alum, so I get to come back to campus and kind of pretend and live vicariously through my son, so it’s a big day for the whole family.”

If these students are college freshmen now, they were high school freshmen when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and shut down classes. So, the class of 2027 has that in common before their college career even starts.

“I think it’s going to help us come together a lot,” Cusano said. “We all went through that same crazy experience right at the start of our high school career, so I think it’s going to help bring everyone together.”

“I think our class as a whole got through a lot of adversity with that,” Brown said. “We obviously got a rough start to high school with that, so we had to learn how to adapt, which has helped us.”

Now, they all get to adapt to maybe the most significant change of their life – the freedom of college.

Transfer and returning students can move in this weekend. UConn is scheduled to begin classes on Aug. 28.

UConn is one of many colleges and universities within the state that have welcomed new and returning students to campus this week ahead of classes.

University of New Haven, Connecticut College, and Quinnipiac University welcomed their first-year students Wednesday, and Yale University welcomed them back to campus this past weekend.