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Spring break in line with WISD

Feb. 23, 2001

Calendar committee set to keep holiday in early March

By CAROLINE BORIACK

Reporter

During the month of March, students flee college campuses in search of the perfect place to spend spring break. Whether it is snow-covered mountains or warm seas and sunny beaches, Baylor students have to celebrate that week without the thousands of other spring break vacationers.

Baylor's spring break is March 3 through 11. Baylor is the only major university in Texas on break that week. Major Texas universities, those with more than 11,000 students, such as Texas A&M University, The University of Texas, Texas Tech University, Southwest Texas State University and Sam Houston State University are out on holiday the next week, March 10 to 19, or the week after.

Freshman Adaeze Okonkwo, from Spring, says she doesn't know what she is going to do over spring break because many of her friends attend universities with different breaks.

'It defeats almost the whole purpose of the spring break. You want to get together with your friends and have a good time,' she said.

But Baylor's spring break probably won't be moved to coincide with other major Texas universities. The calendar for 2002-2003 has already been voted on and there are preliminary calendars drawn up for the next four years, according to Dr. Naymond Keathley, chairman of the committee that sets the calendar each year.

'Since it's almost a tradition, it's kind of set that it [spring break] will be sometime at the first [of the month],' said Carolyn Monroe, a calendar committee member.

Keathley said the reason has more to do with the rest of the calendar.

'We start a week earlier then they [other Texas colleges] do so we take it [spring break] at mid-term,' he said.

Keathley said the decision on when to have spring break is swayed less by other Texas colleges and universities than by the Waco Independent School District. Monroe and Keathley both said it is important for faculty and staff to be off at the same time as their children.

With fewer schools off during the same week, Baylor students face fewer difficulties associated with overcrowding, such as traffic, airport delays and over-crowded hotel rooms.

'It has its benefits because you don't have to compete with other students from other universities, for hotel rooms and stuff like that,' Ryan Willard, an Akien senior, said.

Debi Arnold, a Houston senior, said, 'I think they like having spring break a week earlier to help keep their students more safe.'

Keathley said there are advantages to the smaller crowds during the first week of March.

'I used to ski a lot and we found that going the week before other schools were out, we benefited from lower lift tickets and rental rates,' he said.

In South Padre Island, a haven for many spring break vacationers, the authorities are aware of the differences between the first week of March and the next week when most Texas universities are out, which they have titled 'Texas Week.'

Last year, the total number of students visiting South Padre Island during the month of March was 185,000 with approximately 40 percent there during 'Texas Week,' said Dan Quandt, executive director of the South Padre Island Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

The large crowds during 'Texas Week' lead South Padre Island officials to fence areas off and change the traffic flow, as well as hire more police officers.

Quandt said that visitors to the island during the week before and the week after 'Texas Week' have the same experience, minus the large crowds. He even said it was better during those weeks 'unless someone really, really just likes crowds.'

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