UNT swings class doors open

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Al Key
University of North Texas students walk in front of the Willis Library past “The Sustaining Arch” sculpture near the Onstead Fountain, during the first day of classes Wednesday in Denton.
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University of North Texas freshman Anaisa Kalita described her first five days on campus as exciting and fun, although the first day of class Wednesday seemed a little overwhelming.

“My journalism class today was the size of my entire high school,” said Kalita, who is from Lago Vista, a small town north of Austin. She estimated that 400 people attended the introduction to mass communications course.

“There’s a lot of people in general,” she said.

She said she is already adjusting to campus life and is enjoying becoming a part of the community through First Flight, UNT’s official welcome program, attending events with friends or people she’s met at events.

As Kalita and thousands of other students flooded back to campus last week, university officials made sure to keep students occupied and involved through daily programs and to offer extra assistance for new students, said Melissa McGuire, assistant vice president for student affairs.

“When we think about what a student needs to transition successfully to campus, it’s impossible to give that all to them at orientation,” she said. “We use this to introduce concepts or reinforce conversations for orientation. ... You see things from student skills to what it takes to be successful at UNT to a spirit night.”

Before classes began Wednesday, more than 300 students took advantage of the class schedule tour set up by Student Affairs, where students could bring their schedules in and an orientation leader would walk them to each of their classes so new students knew where to go.

Through Friday, there will be big events each night and other activities on campus to help students adjust, McGuire said.

“Every night, we have a big event so they have something to do to connect with other people. That’s a big part of First Flight,” she said. “We don’t want them to feel homesick or lonely or want to go home.”

Kalita said she planned to attend a back-to-school shopping event Wednesday night at Target and go to the University Union groundbreaking ceremony Friday. On Tuesday, she went to the Mean Green Fling, where students learned about different departments and activities.

“I got tons of free stuff, and that comes in handy as a college kid,” Kalita said.

McGuire said she hasn’t spoken to a lot of students about how First Flight is going, but said students seem to be having fun, and she’s excited they are back on campus, even if it takes her longer to find a parking space.

“They have been talking about [school starting] for so long, there’s a general excitement in the air,” she said. “I love the first day of school.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.

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