Before a monthly Northwest College Board meeting last week, president Lisa Watson held an event for members of the board to meet new hires amongst the faculty and staff, along with two visiting …
Before a monthly Northwest College Board meeting last week, president Lisa Watson held an event for members of the board to meet new hires amongst the faculty and staff, along with two visiting Fulbright Scholars.
When the meeting began, she said it was for the best no students were invited to the event.
“The students, they are a rowdy bunch this fall,” she said. “And that is so exciting, so great.”
It is great to see such a lively bunch of students walking in and out of buildings, filling parking lots and residence halls. For the community college in the state that has boasted the highest portion of traditional students, having the number living on campus rising again after a down spell is also a great sign. The enthusiasm is evident on campus, with kick-off events well attended and last Friday’s annual Paint the Town Red event again showing off the support of the community for the college and its students. Even with cloudy skies and intermittent rain, people parked blocks away to walk to a variety of booths, food vendors and activities. The town has once again proved its welcoming nature, and a stable student body is surely appreciative.
Fall semester enrollment at the start of the school year was 1,191, not including dual and concurrent enrollments. For a town of less than 7,000 people, that’s a big deal.
While the influx of students – many are already living here year-round but there are more than 300 students living in the dorms — may add some headaches such as more traffic, mostly it’s a boon to town. College students are flooding into coffee shops and restaurants, going to grocery stores and shops.
While many of these students are from the area, the college also has more international students than ever. With 59 new students, NWC welcomed the largest incoming class of international students. This semester, NWC has a total of 75 students from 27 different countries.
Not only is the college bringing more people to town, we’re looking at a future workforce for the region being developed on campus. In the last few years the cry of nurse shortages has been loud. Well, NWC is training 70 students for the profession between Powell and Cody.
Another big concern has been in whether there are enough truck drivers, a contributing factor to supply shortages. Well, the college has 39 students in the CDL program.
As the town bathed in red last Friday evening, it was clear, the students are back and excited. Hopefully they’ll not only be a benefit to the area while they attend college, but in the workforce afterward.