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Camping for courses

Oct. 26, 2000

Program registration draws large crowd

Students spend night to secure their places



Erik Milam, a Nashville, Tenn., sophomore, parked his car on James Street at 6 p.m. Tuesday and chose a small piece of grass as close to the Tidwell Bible Building entrance as he could get.

He unloaded his tent, sleeping bag, folding chair, backpack and enough food and drinks to last him throughout the next day. Nearly 24 hours later, Milam completed the pre-registration process for this summer's Baylor in Great Britain Program.

By 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 19 others had set up tent with Milam, waiting to be put on the list that would temporarily secure their place on the trip, as well as in one of the 22 classes offered.

Dr. Jim Henderson, co-director of the trip and professor of economics, performed the first roll call at 9 p.m. By 1 a.m., word had traveled to others interested in the trip, and the group had grown to 98. Throughout the night and the next day, students lounged on couches, in sleeping bags or in folding chairs, studying for classes they were missing and discussing the upcoming trip.

'It was like a big mixer ... We had a good time,' Milam said.

He said he only slept about four hours and missed both his classes yesterday, still awaiting registration.

Henderson said organizers of the trip changed the registration time to late afternoon rather than early morning this year so that students wouldn't feel like they had to spend the night to get a spot, but the word-of-mouth urgency of the first few campers attracted more. This year, a 'buddy system' was also implemented, which allowed someone's place to be held temporarily, as long as the person did not miss two roll calls in a row.

Henderson said that the dedicated students were more worried about getting in the class that fit into their major than getting a spot on the trip. Business classes filled up the fastest; political science and English were also popular.

The trip's 140 openings did not fill up until around 3 p.m. Wednesday, but those who camped out and secured their places enjoyed a speedy registration time, which began at 5 p.m. and was scheduled to last for at least four hours.

Baylor in Great Britain is a 33-day program based in London with side trips to Germany and Switzerland. Students stay at Westminster School, adjacent to Westminster Abbey, and receive credit for three to six hours of classes. The trip costs $5,596 plus spending money and regular Baylor tuition for the classes.