New Students Get Settled into Home Away from Home



CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 22, 2013 – Refrigerators, computers, televisions, clothes, bottled water and … a Hula-Hoop were among the items students and their parents unloaded from tailgates and vans as they moved into residence halls for the 2013-2014 school year at Southeast Missouri State University today.

Expressions of excitement and trepidation were prevalent as new students arrived to begin their college experience. About 300 arrived during Early Bird check-in from 6-8 p.m. Another 300 checked in between 8 and 9 a.m. and more than 300 arrived between 9 and 10 a.m.

By the end of the day, the University expected 1,200 new students to be moved into Southeast’s residence halls. About 1,000 student volunteers – including student athletes and fraternity and sorority members — kept lines and vehicles moving in a process Southeast has down to an orderly science.

Keyeon Pitts of North St. Louis County and a graduate of North County Tech High School, moved into Cheney Hall today. He said he chose Southeast because of the diversity of the campus. It made him feel at home, he said.

Pitts said Southeast’s costs, financial aid package and scholarships were deciding factors in him choosing the University. He plans to major in theatre and, one day, open a children’s threatre.

At North County Tech, Pitts was the captain of the male volleyball team and participated in SkillsUSA, speech and debate teams, track and field, and cheerleading.

He says he is looking forward to the new experiences college will offer him and new people he will meet.

Kevin Marquez of Belleville, Ill., a graduate of O’Fallon (Ill.) High School, moved into Towers East today. He said he chose Southeast because of the “fit,” the “home feel” Southeast offers and the University’s affordability.

A Regents’ scholar, Marquez plans to pursue an accounting major, eventually earn his MBA and become a certified public accountant. He ran track and cross country in high school and participated in Student Government.

“I’m looking forward to the new opportunities I have available at Southeast and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

Also moving in today was Carolyn Grapperhaus of Troy, Ill., a graduate of Triad High School. Her first cousin attended Southeast and has been sharing stories for years about her experiences here.

“I wanted to have the experience away from home,” said Grapperhaus, who also is considering an accounting major and job shadowed in an accounting firm last week. “I want to go into the business school and I heard a lot of positive things about it. I love the price. I got a great scholarship, so all around, it’ is great for me. It made it an easy decision.”

Grapperhaus, who is on a President’ Scholarship at Southeast, played softball and participated in the Spanish Club, Link Crew, Science Club and National Honor Society while in high school. She is living in Towers North.

“I am very excited to get an education and make as many connections as possible while I am here,” she said.

Alex Rogers of New Maden, Ill., a graduate of Mater Dei High School in Breese, Ill., also moved into Towers North today.

“I just had the feeling it was the right school for me,” she said of her choice to enroll at Southeast. I got a really good scholarship.”

Rogers, who is on the Regents’ Scholarship at Southeast, said she has spent the summer working with mentally disabled clients. She said she hopes to get a job in occupational therapy or speech pathology after she graduates.

During high school, Rogers was the editor and a writer for the school newspaper, The Lance. She also ran cross country, worked on various retreat teams and was a member of the Book Club. She says she is looking forward to making new friends and meeting new people.

“I am from a really small high school, so it will be nice to branch out a little bit,” she said.

Gabrielle Bernier of St. Louis, a graduate of Ursuline Academy in St. Louis and first-year student at Southeast, will be living in Merrick Hall on the south side of campus. She said she chose Southeast for its art program.

“I really like the River Campus a lot,” she said. The River Campus is home to Southeast’s Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts.

She plans to major in graphic design or interior design and minor in photography.

She played volleyball and participated in the Music Club in high school, and is attending Southeast on the Regents’ Scholarship.

Bernier says she has browsed through Southeast’s “Engage in 8!” booklet which offers a schedule of activities in which students can participate during their first eight weeks on campus.

“There are so many activities I want to go to,” she said. “I really want to get involved here because I was really involved in high school.”

Opening week activities continue throughout the weekend. Classes at Southeast begin Aug. 26.

For a full gallery of photos from Move-In Day, visit