Move In, Kickoff mark beginnings of academic journeys

photo of LCCC staff helping a student at a computerColorado high school graduate Mandra Gooras had a few options to choose from in deciding where she was going to college in May. In June, she chose to begin her higher education journey at Laramie County Community College for a lot of good reasons, she said.

“It was financially good for me, and I liked the campus a lot — everything was so close,” Gooras said. “I also liked the student-instructor ratio, because I’m not great with huge classes.”

After a couple of visits to LCCC, she officially made campus her home on Aug. 18 when she and hundreds of other students occupied the residence halls as part of Move In Day. The day was chaotic, Gooras said with a laugh, but it was fun to make her way into her new living arrangement surrounded by her family, new peers and friendly staff.

“I was excited, and a lot of my family came and helped me move in,” she said. “And everybody here at LCCC was super welcoming.”

Around one-third of first-time freshmen choose to live in residence halls at colleges in the U.S., according to recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. There are studies that show students who live on campus tend to have better outcomes than those living off campus. Alexander Astin, founding director of Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, conducted research recently that found living in residence halls had a positive impact on degree attainment. Research conducted by Ernest T. Pascarella at the University of Iowa and Patrick T. Terenzini at Pennsylvania State University, analyzing more than 5,000 studies spanning three decades, appears to confirm Astin’s findings that students living on campus were more likely to graduate than their peers living off campus.

Living on campus also helps students by putting them close to the resources that will make them successful while at LCCC. Whether it’s the dining hall, tutoring, Ludden Library, group study spaces, access to Student Success Coaches, mental health services — it’s all available on campus. Now a few weeks into the fall semester, Gooras said it seems like there are resources to address whatever she needs.

“They’re taking care of everything we need taken care of here,” she asid.

The excitement didn’t stop in the morning with Move In Day, because the afternoon saw the fall semester Kickoff event. Students came into the Clay Pathfinder Building to find out where to go to participate in the afternoon’s events meant to welcome them to a new chapter in their journeys at LCCC. Food trucks and Dining Services offered a range of irresistible food options and students were offered LCCC swag before being sent off to meet with faculty and peers in their respective Pathways.

It was the third Kickoff for Kaycie Kilmurray, a Student Success Coach at LCCC. As a floater during the event, she made herself available for any questions or concerns, including attending to students’ inquiries about registration and schedules.

“There’s a little bit of anxiousness and nervousness for students, but there’s a lot of excitement,” Killmurray said. “The excitement was amplified because of the amount of people that were here. Everyone had the biggest smiles on their faces and just had a great time.”

Gooras said she never felt hesitation about relocating to Cheyenne to pursue her education. The small-town qualities of the city are appealing, she said,  and she’s just an hour from home. If prospective students are feeling uncertain about whether they could make the same move, Gooras said they should feel comfortable diving in.

“It took me a while to 100% agree, because it is a pretty small community, but my advice would be to just go with it,” she said. “Don’t isolate yourself and make friends; the people are very welcoming. Just jump at it. I did.”

Find out more about becoming a student at LCCC by going to lccc.wy.edu/Future-Students.aspx.