The new students arrived with bags in hand, clothes packed in boxes and accessories to decorate their home.

Charleston Southern University welcomed its newest freshman class on Aug. 23.

The 555 new students moved into their dorm rooms, met roommates and said goodbye to their families to embark on the next stage in life.

“It’s the closest thing to Christmas,” campus pastor Jon Davis said.

Davis said that it is always wonderful to see the new students arrive from all over the country and prepare for the journey of college.

Davis said the one thing he always notices every move-in day is the wonder on the faces and the hope in the eyes of all of the new college students. He said the students have a desire to see what the next step in life is going to be like and what they can achieve.

“They don’t know what the next step is but they trust the next step is good,” Davis said.

Davis said that move-in day is especially important for the parents who give up their child who they have raised for the last 18 years to the school for the next part of their life. Davis said there’s a high amount of trust involved in the exchange.

This sentiment was reiterated by CSU President Dondi Costin. Parents often are worried about giving up their children, but they are excited to see what the future holds for their child.

“Parents are the best example of mixed emotions,” Costin said.

Costin said that all of the new students are nervous as well. He said that this is often the first time that many of these students are living on their own or are even separated from their families. The students are looking at all of the options available to them and are eager to see what can happen for them.

“The excitement overcomes the nerves,” Costin said.

Senior Anna Pender said that one of the best parts of move-in day is seeing the new students get excited about CSU.

“I get excited when I see them getting excited about being at CSU,” Pender said.”That’s just so cool when they’re all-in 100 percent.”

Bryson Fulmer, a resident assistant at CSU, said that the new students have a chance to make an impact on the school and leave a legacy.

“All the new faces, they don’t know it yet but they have the chance to implant themselves in the university and leave their mark,” Fulmer said.

The school is expanding its campus ministries and student life activities. CSU also unveiled a new logo and merchandise.

“We’ve rebranded the whole idea of CSU,” Pender said.

While the logo and merchandise are changing the mission of CSU will be the same. Costin said that CSU offers students the chance to find their purpose in their life and education.

“If you come to CSU it’s as if we are giving you a passport to purpose,” Costin said.

Jon Davis said that CSU is different from every other college in that CSU focus on students finding a purpose in their life, not just their education.

“What I live for is to see Jesus glorified by seeing students receiving a calling instead of a degree,” Davis said. “CSU is a place of transformation it is not just a place of information.”