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GSU says hello to new year

Fall class begins with long lines, heat

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    “Hot” was the word most students used to describe their first day of fall classes – circa 2007 – at Georgia Southern University. Regardless of the heat, the campus was buzzing with activity as the students took care of their day one business.
    Inside the Russell Student Union, students were lined up to get their EagleID cards, sign up for meal plans, and wait for computers in the computer lab. Outside, they were given information about the various activities available to them outside of class.
    Meg Jackson, a second-year MBA student, confirmed the general feeling about the weather. As she was handing out pizza and information material at the rotunda, she said “The first day is going well. Though it’s hot.”
    As the university enters its second century as an institution of higher learning, GSU is expecting to top 17,000 enrolled students for the first time in school history.
    Despite the large numbers, the first day has gone “Unusually well and has been “very quiet and very smooth,” according to said Dr. Teresa Thompson, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “This is a really great opening for the year.”
    This semester marks the first time the university has employed first day student attendance verification for the fall semester. Each professor takes roll on the first day of class and those students who don’t show up are dropped from the class.
“The great thing is the drop/add period happens much more quickly,” Thompson said. “In the past, students looking for a specific class might have waited until Friday to find an opening. Now they find out immediately and are alerted electronically.”
    Dr. Thompson said it makes the enrollment system much more student centered.
    When asked if she thinks the students will be surprised by the policy change, she said most of the students are prepared.  
    “We began educating the students in the spring,” she said. “Also, the great jobs done by Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management as well as the cooperation from faculty and professors should ease the transition.”
    Angela Burrell and Haley Drometer specified their primary activity as “fanning themselves” while they worked around lunchtime in the Rotunda. Though getting paid to give out information about the upcoming intramural season, they stated “there are lots people asking us for directions.”
    Most students were excited to be back at school and were enjoying their first day – despite the heat. Adeymi Gbogboade, a biology transfer student from the Atlanta metro area, said “My first day is going fantastic. I like it here in Statesboro.”
    For some, the first day of classes was a break from a week’s worth of service work. Brandyn Hill is a freshman in construction management and was here last week with Project BUILD. He said his first day was “pretty smooth, though my parents have called a lot this week.” In defense of their concern, he added “It’s cool. After being with them for 18 years, they have a right to call.”
    Older students had a different take on the first day. Nick Potts, a sophomore music education major specializing in trumpet, said he was happy to have “my freedom back.” Others, like sophomore vocal performance major Andrea Collins, said “I’m happy to be back. It’s nice to see all of your friends again.”
    Kathleen Daughtry, from GSU’s Welcome Center, summed it up: “The first day can be very intimidating for some students. However, many students come the week before, with their maps and class schedule, and plan out their first week. Overall we’re always excited to have the students back.”
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