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Released January 6, 2003

SOUTHERN MISS SPRING SEMESTER KICKING OFF THIS WEEK

HATTIESBURG - University of Southern Mississippi students returned to campuses in Hattiesburg and on the Gulf Coast Monday to begin classes for the spring 2003 semester.

Southern Miss officials were on hand to help returning and new and transfer students with information about classes, financial aid, and the plethora of activities and organizations available to help them get involved in campus life.

"We have displays and booths in Southern Miss's R.C. Cook University Union lobby and in the residence halls to provide students information about organizations and activities in which they can get involved," said John Burks, assistant director of student activities, whose office is planning more upcoming events . "This will provide students who didn't get involved last semester an opportunity to learn more about what's available for them on campus."

Burks said his office also serves as a clearinghouse for information about all organizations at Southern Miss – in addition to offering workshops on leadership and event preparation, and other services. "We're really a conduit between student organizations and the students to help them get up and going," he said.

Among those sponsoring booths in the union were the Southern Miss Office of Recreational Sports, which provides information to students about the variety of recreation, health and fitness services offered at Southern Miss's Payne Center

"They're excited about our 'No Payne, No Gain' program," said Stacey Ready, assistant director of marketing and public relations for recreational sports.

The program, named for Southern Miss's Payne Center recreation and fitness facility, provides health and exercise assessment, a service Ready said students should consider to shed extra pounds gained over the holidays. "A lot of them (students) are looking forward to having a set program to get started exercising," she said.

A pair of basketball games also were on tap during the first week of classes with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles facing Texas Christian University 7 p.m. Wednesday and the University of Memphis at 4 p.m. Saturday. Both Conference USA men's basketball matchups will be held at Reed Green Coliseum and admission is free to full-time students with a student identification card.

Individuals can still enroll for the spring semester Jan. 6-10, even after classes have started, by participating in late registration. Late registration was scheduled in the University Union lobby Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the registrar's office, which is located in Kennard-Washington Hall. Students who enroll during late registration week will be assessed a $50 late fee.

Dr. Buck Wesley, associate vice president for admissions at Southern Miss, said he expects enrollment to remain steady this semester following last semester's record enrollment of 15,276 at all of Southern Miss's campuses.

For more information about late registration, contact the Southern Miss Office of Admissions at (601) 266-5000. For information about student activities at Southern Miss, contact the Southern Miss Student Activities Office at (601) 266-4403.

For more information or to register, call the Southern MissGC Division of Continuing Education at (228) 867-8777.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

AA/EOE/ADAI