Students branch out at regional campuses

Erin Orsini

Small size creates specialized learning

Student life varies at every college, but it’s the combination of students, organizations, and relationships at Kent State’s regional campuses that give students the “real college experience,” despite attending a branch campus.

Senior English major Kait Gallagher said she went to Ohio University for two years before transferring to Kent State Tuscarawas Campus. She is a member of the English Club and serves as vice president of the Student Activities Council.

“Other than the small size of the campus and the fact that Tuscarawas is a commuter school, we’re the same as any college,” Gallagher said. “Kids still throw the football around between classes, hang out at the Student Center and participate in student organizations.”

Gallagher said that one of the most attractive parts of being at a regional campus is its small and intimate atmosphere.

“I honestly can’t go five feet without seeing someone I know,” she said. “There is such a strong connection between students on campus. It’s neat to go to school with people you’ve grown up with and known forever.”

Currently, Gallagher is working with SAC to organize a “welcome back” concert where local bands, food booths and a beer garden will be present to promote student organizations and involvement.

Pam Patacca, public relations coordinator at the Tuscarawas campus, said the goal of student organizations is to create a sense of belonging.

“It’s important for students to make a connection with the campus,” she said. “That allows them to create memories, gain experience and improve academic success.”

The Feature Speaker Program, Student Leadership Academy and the Card Club are just a few student organizations offered at Kent State’s seven regional campuses.

Because regional campuses are generally smaller, the size creates a specialized learning experience for students.

Senior English major Laura Lebeau who attends Kent State Stark said she has never stepped foot on the main campus.

“I’d rather be at a smaller campus where I can get one-on-one time with professors and receive the same education I would get at the main campus,” Lebeau said. “I like smaller classes because I get to know my classmates and professors on a personal basis and that makes learning fun.”

Kristi Yerian, Kent State Stark student life coordinator, said a lot of students have families and work, which makes it difficult to engage students in different activities.

“The total college experience is different for every student,” Yerian said. “It’s about getting involved beyond the classroom, developing leadership and forming lifelong relationships.”

Gallagher said creating awareness about student life is difficult.

“Students aren’t always on campus,” Gallagher said. “So we have to work harder to make events and organizations accessible for all students.”

Contact regional campuses reporter Erin Orsini at [email protected]