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Galveston students heading home

Associated Press Modified: December 10, 2008 at 9:51 am •  Published: December 10, 2008


By Vimal Patel

The Eagle, Bryan, Texas


Dec. 10--Victoria Bissonnet gazed in awe at the hulking Kyle Field.

''I'm a small-town girl," said the sophomore marine biology major from Texas A&M's Galveston campus, recalling the first time earlier this semester that she passed by the stadium. "It's so big. How do you even function here?"

Bissonnet was among more than 1,500 Galveston students who relocated to College Station for the semester after Hurricane Ike hit Sept. 13.

As students finish finals Wednesday and begin to head back to Galveston, where classes begin again in January, many have a similar sentiment: Thanks for everything, College Station, but we're ready to go home.

''I wanted to be part of the Aggie family," said Calvin Kalu, a junior marine biology major, explaining his decision to attend Galveston, "but I also wanted to go to a small school."

The students expressed gratitude to the Texas A&M College Station campus community, which housed them for 2 1/2 months. But they long for the small-town feel of their campus, where everyone knows everyone, dorms are about a five-minute walk from class and free time is spent lazily on the beach.

''Life there is slower for the most part," said Mike Spiers, student body president for the Galveston campus. "There's a laid-back mentality. ... There's a real relaxing feel to it, with the ocean right there. We have to love the ocean because every major we offer is ocean-based."

The students brought Galveston traditions to College Station and created their own sense of community. They held barbecues and invited comedians to perform for the students, things they do at their campus.

And the night before finals started last week, they held their annual "midnight breakfast" -- where they feasted on eggs, pancakes, waffles, fruit, biscuits, gravy and more -- a small slice of home.

''It was one of the best 1/8midnight breakfasts3/8 I've seen," Spiers said.

It's been a long semester for the students uprooted from their homes as well as for the Galveston and College Station officials who pulled off the relocation effort.

Within 11 days of Ike's landfall, Galveston students sat in College Station campus classrooms continuing their semester.

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