Large freshmen class — one of the largest in recent years — begins at EWC
TORRINGTON — Eastern Wyoming College welcomed 232 freshmen Monday, as the college gears up for a new academic year.
President Lesley Travers said she is excited for the new year, which will include new programs like precision agriculture and pipe-welding. The 2018-19 academic year also happens to be EWC’s 70th anniversary, which will be celebrated throughout the year; the first will be on Tuesday, a community tailgate party at the CTEC parking lot ahead of EWC’s volleyball game with McCook Community College.
Zach Smith, director of enrollment management at the college, said this year’s incoming class of full-time freshmen is one of the largest in recent years, nearly filling the school’s dormitories.
“The incoming class is looking great,” he said. “Our enrollment is up, so we’re pretty excited.”
He credited an increased focus on college recruiting for the rise in enrollment.
“Last year, we realized that we needed to put up a full barrage out there,” he said. “We’re going to work on retention this year a little bit more, to see if we can keep some of the students that we have traditionally lost.”
While the school still primarily draws students from Wyoming and the surrounding states, it also brings in students from farther out, both in the U.S. and outside.
“We helped check in a bunch of students this morning from Sweden, Malaysia, Brazil, Serbia,” he said. “We’ve got people from all over the world here in Torrington, which is awesome.”
Part of the job is helping students, some of whom are accustomed to living in big cities, get used to living in Goshen County.
“For a lot of our students, it’s quite a change,” he said. “We try to do a lot of activities this week. For example, yesterday (Sunday), we had a two-story inflatable waterslide that we rented. Tonight, we’ve rented out Jirdon Park and the pool. We’re just trying to acclimate everybody to a smaller town.”
Kayla Brueggeman, a veterinary technology major from Grant, said she liked the idea of going to school in Torrington.
“Since I’m from a small town, it felt comfortable,” she said.
Colby Humphrey of Burns, Wyoming, and Chance Barrett of Gering came to EWC for the welding program. Both were already familiar with Torrington.
“I came to play sports here,” Humphrey said, “so I know a lot of it.”
“It was far enough from home to feel independent,” Barrett said, “but I can still go back if I want to.”
McKenzie Cope, a vet tech major from Oelrichs, South Dakota, said she knew about Torrington from the state trapshoot competitions held there. She appreciated EWC’s campus.
“I love the organization of it,” she said. “Just having to walk 50 feet to my classes sounds really nice.”