Carrying a coed’s refrigerator into student dorms on a stormy Wednesday, the LSU president quipped that he’s always wet on move-in day — last year it was from sweat, this year from rain.

F. King Alexander was among the 626 volunteers helping about 2,700 underclassmen settle into their new homes for the fall semester. Athletes would be joining the effort later in the day, once the thunder and lightning stopped.

Though this is but the first day students were allowed to move into the residence halls (dorm is a passé term), the head of the LSU system expects most of the on-campus housing to be filled by nightfall in what he predicts will be one of the largest classes in history, maybe topping 30,000 students.

Classes at LSU start Monday.

Students at Southern University, on the north side of Baton Rouge, moved in over the weekend and started classes Monday. Registration is still ongoing and the actual counts won’t be in for another couple weeks at either campus, but Southern also is hoping for increased enrollment, based on the size of the freshman class.

“This is how we discover our future engineering students,” Alexander said, parking the refrigerator in the room already filled with clothes, a microwave, a case of bottled water and other items. “If they can figure out, down the road, how to arrange this in the room, then they have potential.”

Televisions, refrigerators and microwaves — luckily these days most computers are laptops — that’s what all the new students are bringing, said Christopher Dupré, a student from New Orleans volunteering to help.

Students can’t cook in their room, but they can pop popcorn, said Heather Duplessis, a second-year student from New Orleans laden with clothing and moving in with the help of Alexander.

Monica Schexnaydre, a mom from Ama, said the move-in process for her freshman daughter was easy. Carts were available and volunteers carried the heavy stuff. “It took about 15 minutes,” she said.

It’s been getting easier every year, says Steve Waller, executive director of residential life and housing.

They staggered arrival times. And about 2,400 students in fraternities and attending various programs moved in last week, he said.

By nightfall, Waller said all but about 500 or so students will be in place. The remainder is mostly upperclassmen, who are no longer as excited about going off to college and will probably arrive later in the week, he said.

About 6,400 students live on campus, he said.

Blake Harmon, a dad from New Orleans, shook hands with Alexander but didn’t realize he was talking to the head of LSU until told later.

Like many parents interviewed, he and his wife were unaware of the fee of about $1,200 that was charged to every student enrolling in a public college this fall, mainly because they didn’t have to pay it.

“I just looked at the bottom line (of the bill) and paid it,” Elanie Harmon said.

The Student Assessment for a Valuable Education (SAVE) Credit Program was aimed at offsetting taxes raised by the Legislature. The fee was levied on the students and a credit was given to the institution to collect money from the state.

Alexander said the accounting method, which Gov. Bobby Jindal said he needed not to veto the state budget, allowed higher education to receive enough money to forestall deep spending cuts.

“I can talk about it, but I can’t explain it,” Alexander said.