OUS welcomes back students in #039;banner enrollment year#039;

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2003

With hundreds of new students now a part of the Ohio University Southern family, the university hosted a cookout Thursday to welcome back all the students in what officials said will be another "banner year."

The first day of the fall quarter was Sept. 8 and the enrollment figures

show that OUS is set to have another big year.

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A couple of hundred students enjoyed the breezy evening Thursday to listen to music and grab some dinner in the OU courtyard in the event co-sponsored by the Office of Student Enrollment, Student Government and ACTION, which is the psychology club.

"This cookout is a little different than the other because we are back in school," said Dr. Kim Keffer, director of enrollment services. "It is a way for us to say to all our students, 'welcome back and we are glad you are here.'"

Returning sophomore computer science major Brandon Runyon said he is excited to be kicking off another school year and was enjoying Thursday's activities.

"It is a nice campus. It has grown quite a bit," he said. "(The cookout) is good to build community. It lets people get to know each other and get to meet new people."

Keffer said the goal was to enroll 700 new students for the quarter. As of Thursday, there was more than 775 new students signed up for classes, up six to eight percent from the same time last year.

Overall enrollment totals more than 1,800 - compared to 1,665 at this time last year, she said.

"For this point in the year, this is the most degree seeking students we have ever had, to my memory, and I have been here 15 years," she said. "It has been a banner year. I thought it was going to be good but it surpassed my expectations."

It is not just the number of students, but the quality of those enrolled that has left Keffer impressed.

"We are getting students with outstanding academic backgrounds from their high schools," she said. "We are pleased with how many students we have, but also who our students are."

Senior social studies major B.J. Wurts said that activities like the cookout are vital to the southern campus because it has a mix of traditional and non-traditional students.

"We have to have events like this to get everyone accustomed to campus," he said. "It shows them that we are a normal campus and we have clubs and stuff like that."