Energy of students returns to Stephens College

Monday, August 24, 2009 | 6:18 p.m. CDT; updated 6:57 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 24, 2009
Having unpacked their stuff in a dorm room at Stephens College, Victoria Hambrick, left, and Whitney Anderson have a conversation about what they did during the summer. Whitney is a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in psychology. "I like to advise and help people," she said. "My aunt is schizophrenic, so I want to help her too." Victoria is a 19-year-old sophomore student majoring in legal studies.

COLUMBIA — At Stephens College, almost 300 new students moved in on Sunday and more than 450 returning students began trickling in on Monday and will continue to do so until classes start on Wednesday.

Undergraduate students attending Stephens are required to live on campus, the thinking being that it builds community and increases involvement in campus activities, according to Stephens' housing Web site. Although it's far from the parking nightmare or crowded sidewalks of MU, the Stephens campus was again pulsing with energy as students carried grocery bags to their rooms, walked across the shaded campus, spent final moments with family, caught up with friends and located their classes. 

The best guess Monday for total enrollment this fall is close to 1,200 students. The freshman class is up about 20 students from last year, with the estimate right now at 300, said spokeswoman Sarah Berghorn.

Jenny Massey-Brown, 19, a second-year theater student from Springfield, moved in Monday and will live with one of her best friends from high school. Her younger brother and his friend helped carry armloads of her belongings up the stairs of Hillcrest Hall to her new room.

“I love the close-knit friendships that we make here," Massey-Brown said. "Everybody’s really close here — it’s kind of like one big sorority."

New at Stephens this fall is Dianne Lynch, who became president of the women's college after Wendy Libby left to become president of Stetson College in Florida. Lynch, who arrived on campus in June, is keeping a blog. She came to Columbia from Ithaca College, where she was dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications.

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