FLORENCE — Students at the University of North Alabama are preparing for the start of new academic year Aug. 21, but before that date they will need assistance moving into campus dorms.

“Unpack the Pride” wrangles faculty, staff, students, alumni, organizations and individuals Aug. 15-17 to help students get settled into their new homes for the year.

The volunteer event signals the kickoff of UNA’s MANE Month, which is chock-full of activities and opportunities for students to get connected.

A record number of on-campus residents this fall means there is a greater need for volunteers, said Housing Director Jennifer Sutton.

Sutton said about 750 volunteers turned out last year for "Unpack the Pride" with some volunteering for more than one shift.

“We’d love to have that many, plus more,” she said of this year’s event.

Volunteers may be tasked with any of the following — unloading vehicles, carrying items, directing traffic and parking, administrative tasks, greeting newcomers and general assistance.

Each day begins at 8 a.m. and will consist of two shifts lasting approximately four-and-a-half hours.

“We have a mix of upperclassmen and freshmen coming on Thursday and Friday, and on Saturday, it’s pretty exclusively freshmen and incoming new students,” Sutton said.

Only current sorority members will help potential new sorority members move in during Thursday’s first shift. Other volunteers will begin moving students into Hawthorne, Covington, Lafayette, Appleby East and West halls during the second shift.

Friday’s volunteers will spend both shifts helping students move into Mattilou and Rivers halls, while Saturday’s volunteers will be in charge of Olive and Rice halls.

“We have always been very fortunate to have a high number and a very high-quality group of volunteers for 'Unpack the Pride,'” Sutton said. “We do have a record number of students arriving to live on campus this year, so they are absolutely what makes that weekend possible for us.”

Volunteers may sign up as individuals or with organizations, and do not need a personal connection to UNA to help with the event.

All registered participants will receive a free T-shirt, lunch and drinks.

For registration information and volunteer instructions, go to una.edu/housing.

—kendyl.hollingsworth@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5757. Follow on Twitter @TD_KendylH

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