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Students return for spring semester

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Georgia Southern junior Haley Clayton returned to Statesboro a week ago to begin working at her job.
    What she experienced was a Statesboro that was "kind of dead" while the students were on their winter break.
    "It's a lot more quiet without all the students here," she said.
    On Monday, however, that changed as Georgia Southern's spring semester started and approximately 15,000 students returned to campus.
    "You can go down Fair Road or try to go to Longhorn and realize the students are back," said Dr. Teresa Thompson, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.
    For the first time in several years, Georgia Southern experienced a decline in enrollment during the fall semester from the previous year.
    "We had about 200 less than the previous fall," Thompson said.
    She attributed that to a number of factors, including more stringent academic standards.
    "We had a minimum 1,000 SAT scores and obviously that's going to cut some students who might have attended," Thompson said.
    Despite the decrease, Thompson said average SAT scores had increased and while the University would like to continue to grow the enrollment, the school is focused on increasing the quality of the caliber of students attending.
    One person who had definitely noticed a difference with the students back in class is Jeff Yawn, manager of the Starbucks located inside the student union.
    "The few weeks we were open without the students we were very slow," Yawn said. "We're very excited to have the students back."
    While he didn't have exact figures, Yawn said an overwhelming majority of the store's business comes from students and faculty.
    Jay Miller, a junior, broadcasting major from Marietta, said he was ready for the semester to start and focused on making good grades.
    "I'm excited and ready to do my best this semester," he said.
    Ottavio Lobefaro graduated in December and is still on campus doing an internship this semester. He said it's "relaxing" to know that he only has to work from nine to five and not study when he's done.
    Thompson said the beginning of a new semester is always fun.
    "When you choose to work at a university and the students are the major reason for your career, you're always excited to have them back. It's a clean slate. It's always fun," she said.
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