Local student ready for college life
Kim West, Franklin County Times
FLORENCE – Like many freshmen, Brittany Morrison was ready to move away from home and start college.
Morrison, of Phil Campbell, is a business management and marketing major starting classes today at the University of North Alabama, where enrollment is expected to exceed 7,000 students for the first time in school history.
Although a majority of students commute, Morrison is among an estimated 1,180 students who have chosen to live on campus, according to UNA Director of Housing Audrey Mitchell.
Last Saturday was the official move-in day for campus residents, and Morrison arrived when the doors opened at 1 p.m. to move into Rice Hall, which is a female-only residence hall nestled in the heart of the picturesque campus. There are eight residence halls at UNA, and four of them officially opened last weekend.
The other four halls are cluster-style buildings that allow students to sign year-round contracts and move in during early August.
"I started moving in when they let us (at 1 p.m.). We were afraid it would be crazy, and it was. But there were a lot of people helping out, and one of the guys from the fraternities helped us by carrying things to my room," said Morrison, who graduated from Phillips High School in May. "UNA was my top choice, because it's a great school and close to home. I'm nervous and excited about living on my own."
UNA encourages students to live on campus for at least their first year of college because it allows them to fully experience the college lifestyle.
"Living on campus allows the student to have the full college experience, meaning not only learning in the classroom but also living in a living-learning environment," said Jami Schepman, the area coordinator for Rice and Rivers halls. "It's a chance to grow outside the classroom, and it's an opportunity to meet new people. It allows you to get involved in campus life and build your leadership skills."
Schepman said there were no major complications Saturday.
"I think it went really smoothly, and there were a lot of compliments about the process," said Schepman, who is a UNA graduate and a former Rice Hall resident. "All of the residents met with the Housing Department first in one central location, and then they all got sent to their hall, which caused a lot less traffic in the lobbies. It was still crazy, but it wasn't near the congestion we've had in the past. There were a lot of organizations helping out Saturday – everyone from athletics and churches to organizations – and a lot of people were passing out water, popsicles and other things. When I moved in, there was one elevator that went to the even floors and one that went to the odd floors, and I don't remember a lot of organizations helping out like they do now."