Activities outside the classroom contribute to meaningful college experience

The Colleges of the NWCCD have robust student life programs

Students attending the Colleges of the Northern Wyoming Community College District choose from over 70 areas of study.  They also have myriad clubs and activities to get involved in while attending college.

Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Leah Barrett explains why this type of activity is an important aspect of student life.  “Everything we do is intentional. From how residence hall rooms are designed to what programs we offer and when. Our goal is to connect all students in a meaningful way to someone else in our community,” said Dr. Barrett.

According to Barrett, engagement outside the classroom is a primary indicator of student success and complements activity in the classroom. Collegiate athletics, living in residence halls, and working on campus were originally born out of the acknowledgment that students participating in such an activity had a higher graduation rate than students not engaged in any similar program or team. 

“The depth and breadth of opportunity for the students attending Gillette and Sheridan Colleges are truly extraordinary,” said Northern Wyoming Community College District President, Dr. Walt Tribley. “NWCCD student life programs are modeled from best practices found around the nation. This demonstrates strong and consistent leadership by Dr. Leah Barrett.”

Students come to college looking for more than just an academic experience.  Meeting new people, being entertained, internships, study abroad opportunities, and experiencing something new are all identified by Barrett as expectations students have.

“We have lots of different types of activities happening on our campus,” said Dennis Zezas, Sheridan College Student Government President. “Working with Dr. Barrett and her team is great.  They help us tie activities with specific outcomes and also make sure we are planning activities for all of our students, with the goal of maximizing participation.”

The needs and wants of eighteen year-old students coming to us right out of high school can be different than working adults choosing to come back to school.  Dr. Barrett explained that students are often looking to engage in something that will eventually help them get their desired job.  In addition to entertaining activities, many of the programs organized by Barrett’s team create a shared experience between students and community members.

“It’s really about community. We work with local organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, local food groups, and many more. Creating moments for students to put their heart and soul into their work. That is our mission and purpose,” said Dr. Barrett.