There was a lot of activity on the campus of Union University on Friday.

Ahead of Tuesday’s first day of classes, many new students were moving into the dorms.

U-haul trailers were scattered throughout the parking lots. Car tags on campus ranged from various counties throughout West Tennessee like McNairy, Benton, Tipton and Weakley to other states including Missouri, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Those on staff at the institution had a plan in place to make the newcomers feel welcome.

The occasional round of applause could be heard from the open doors of the lobby of Fred DeLay Gymnasium.

Bo Mantooth, the director of the Office of Student Life at the college, had coordinated a welcome event for the new students.

“We’ll have about 400 students come through here before we’re done getting information, questions answered and some of the things they need when class starts,” Mantooth said.

That round of applause was caused by two rows of students who lined the path from the doorways into the lobby from the outdoors to the door to the gym.

Students and accompanying family members would get items at the gym’s concession stand and be ushered through the welcoming students, after which they were met by another student who would lead them to the different tables and booths they needed to walk to for information.

Before they left, there was a final table before the exit with available apparel to support the Bulldog sports teams.

Athletic Director Tommy Sadler was there talking to students and their families as they came by the table, handing them a goodie bag of coupons from local restaurants.

“We’ve got a lot of local restaurants and other businesses who help us out a lot throughout the year, and this is a way we can help them out by pointing these families to these businesses for a meal while they’re in town or the students themselves after their families head back home,” Sadler said.

In a statement released by the school’s media relations department, this freshman class, who would graduate in 2023 if they take the traditional four-year schedule of classes, is Union’s bicentennial class.

Reach Brandon Shields at or at 731-425-9751. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or on Instagram at editorbrandon.

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