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University: Start of spring semester brings bustle back to UL campus – photos, video included

Megan Wyatt, Daily Advertiser, Jan. 16, 2014

Students walk by Montgomery Hall on the first day of spring semester classes at UL Wednesday. By Leslie Westbrook January 15, 2014

Students cross St. Mary Boulevard on the first day of spring semester classes at UL Wednesday. / Leslie Westbrook, The Advertiser
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Students returned to classes Wednesday at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, but they aren’t the only ones happy to see the campus bustling again.

From restaurant owners to those involved in campus ministries, many people depend on the flurry of activity on campus that comes with a new semester.

“It’s great to have the students here and the life that comes with that,” said the Rev. Bryce Sibley, pastor of Our Lady of Wisdom on the UL campus.

After the activity of the fall semester, it can be nice to have a quiet winter break, said Sibley, who lives on campus. He looks forward to the students’ return to campus as the spring semester draws closer.

Sibley isn’t the only one.

Kimberly LeMaire, owner of Cajun’s Café, added new menu items to her on-campus restaurant in anticipation of the new semester.

“We’ve only been here one semester, and we’re trying to get some new business,” LeMaire said. “I’m glad to be here. I’ve met a lot of great people — professors, athletes, students.”

Cajun’s Café moved into the former location of longtime favorite Campus Copies on St. Mary Boulevard.

LeMaire and her partner Mindy Menard have heard mixed emotions from their customers who frequented Campus Copies for burgers and plate lunches.

“We strive to do what Campus Copies did for 26 years, which is to put out good food,” LeMaire said. “We’re going to try to please everybody and just embrace the university.”

Jennifer De Guzman, a UL chemistry instructor, is back to teaching again this semester after taking maternity leave in October.

“I’ve been wanting to get back because teaching is a passion for me,” De Guzman said.

The first day of classes are easy, she said. It’s about two weeks in when things start getting hard, both for professors and students.

“I’m looking forward to more students passing the course,” De Guzman said. “I’m really hoping that with the changes I made to the course, that more students will be passing.”

For senior biology major Arielle Freeman, returning to campus Wednesday made graduation feel closer than ever.

“It just gets a little more surreal every day the closer that you get to graduation,” Freeman said. “You work all this time. You take all these hard classes. And you finally start to see it paying off.”

Although the semester just began, Yazid Basouki, a junior chemical engineering major, said he is already looking forward to spring break.

“It’s good though,” he said, “seeing campus is back to life.”