Semesterly stampede


Published: Monday, January 8, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 7, 2007 at 10:44 p.m.

Laughing and talking while carrying armloads of clothing and food, college students poured back into Gainesville on Sunday. Classes are scheduled to resume at both the University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College this morning, but students said they aren't sure how seriously anyone will take academics on the day the University of Florida football team plays for the National Championship.

"I think we are having class Monday, but maybe we can skip," freshman Haley Kress said.

Christina Burnham of Fort Walton Beach returned to the UF campus Sunday afternoon carrying a jumbo box of Cheerios.

"I'm not sure what will happen with classes (Monday) because of the game, so I guess you could say we have some snacks — some healthy snacks," Burnham said.

Marquitta Davis returned to the UF campus carrying a pair of roller blades she brought back after spending break with her family in Miami.

"I am so glad to be back. I missed my freedom and just being able to work out with my friends," Davis said.

Coming back to apartments, dormitories and other buildings that have been empty as long as a month yielded unpleasant surprises for some. The brothers of Delta Tau Delta fraternity discovered that someone had broken into their house at 1926 W. University Ave. over the holiday break.

"This may have been a retribution issue with a former brother," said Gainesville Police Sgt. Robert Bartley. "We understand some items may have been taken and a note was left behind."

Bartley said police received several other calls about apparent burglaries discovered by returning students over the weekend. He predicted additional burglaries would be reported as students return from the BCS National Championship Game in Arizona over the next few days.

While some students are returning to campus, others are arriving for the first time, including Zhen Zou, 21, a financial management major from southern China.

She arrived in Gainesville on Dec. 29 to spend a semester at UF studying financial management.

Although English is her second language and southern China places virtually no emphasis on college bowl games, Zou clearly understood the importance of being at the O'Connell Center tonight.

"Football — I will be going to see the game," Zou said.

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