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Boone Empties Out as School Year Comes to a Close

By Ethan Woodhouse

May 16, 2012. The town of Boone takes on an entirely new identity each summer.

With students going home for the summer, graduating or enjoying summer vacation elsewhere, the town’s streets are noticeably emptier.

ASU’s undergraduate population is just below 15,000. When school is in session, that nearly doubles the town’s population of 17,186.

“I enjoy the students being here,” Mayor Loretta Clawson said. “When they’re gone I see a big difference in parking and traffic. It just seems a lot quieter all over.”

ASU hosts two summer sessions, the first running from May 22 through June 22 and the second from July 2 to Aug. 2. So far, 4,171 students are enrolled in the first session, while 2,553 are for the second. Many of these students are upperclassmen and already reside in Boone during the summer. That is different for freshmen. 

ASU welcomed 2,972 freshmen to their campus in 2011. These freshmen make up a large portion of the exodus from Boone. Only 251 freshmen are enrolled for first summer session. The second session sees a slight increase, 258 freshmen are currently enrolled.

“Juniors and seniors utilize summer sessions more often,” Lynette Orbovich, director in the Office of Summer Sessions said. “Living in Boone makes the summer a more viable option for them. It’s like an extra semester.”

Living off-campus makes it easier for these students to remain in town. On-campus housing, typically reserved for freshmen and sophomores, is extremely limited during the summer.

Of the 20 on-campus dormitories, only one will be opened for residency during summer school. About 150 students have signed up for housing in the first session, while 200 are currently signed up for second session. This is a significant drop-off from the 6,000 students who live on campus during the school year. Without summer housing, the majority of these 6,000 will take up residency outside of Boone.

The quaint atmosphere that overtakes Boone each summer is enjoyable on many levels, but even some locals look forward to the start of a new school year.

“I really look forward to the fall when the students come back,” said Mayor Clawson. “They keep us all young.”