Photo by John F. Russell
Mercedes Quesada-Embid teaches an ecology and sustainability course on the first day of classes Monday at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus.
Steamboat Springs Ben Saheb already knows what he wants to do with the Bachelor of Arts in sustainability studies he’s working to earn from Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs.
“I want to be at the forefront of changing the way we live,” he said Monday as he waited for his class to begin in Bristol Hall.
Saheb said he hopes to someday start a company that would help evaluate and improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
“I’m here because I want to make the world a better place,” he said.
Hundreds of students started classes Monday, and this semester marks the launch of CMC’s new bachelor’s degree program that offers students like Saheb, who have at least 45 transferable college credits and a 2.3 cumulative GPA, the chance to earn a Bachelor of Arts in sustainability studies or a Bachelor of Science in business administration.
Saheb said the new programs also would help to eliminate a stigma he thinks is associated with the campus.
“It’s more than a party school and a place to go skiing,” he said about the campus. “These new degrees will bring more people here who want to learn and make a difference in their community.”
CMC public information officer Debra Crawford said that as of Friday, 43 students in Steamboat were enrolled in upper-division courses for those degrees, the highest number of any CMC campus.
And as they attended their first Ecology and Sustainability Class, 10 students took turns telling their professor why they enrolled in the new program.
“I feel like there are going to be a lot of job openings in the sustainability field in a couple of years,” said Houston Henderson, who is starting his third year at CMC.
And Georgie Weber said the new bachelor’s degree program allows her to live in Steamboat with her husband and two kids.
“I want this place to be a home for my family, and this program allows me to stay here and do that,” she said.
Down about 50 parking spaces and one Monson Hall because of ongoing construction projects, the Alpine Campus welcomed back hundreds of students Monday who were excited about the year ahead.
Student Kyle Preeo took at least 50 credit hours in Monson Hall before it was demolished to make room for the campus’s new $20 million, 58,000-square-foot academic and administrative building. Preeo said he had mixed feelings about his first day of classes without it.
“It was a little disheartening to see it gone, especially since we had such a strong community in that building,” he said. “But at the same time, I’m looking to see what’s going to come out of this new building. It should turn into something great.”
Brian Hoza, assistant campus dean of student services, said Monday that students were enthusiastic about the year ahead despite the parking limitations and construction noise.
“We have had very strong enrollment for the fall,” Hoza said. “A lot of students and staff are anxious for everyone to get settled, and we’re in a hurry to make the necessary adjustments with schedules to make sure all of our classrooms are in order. It’s been a very active day on campus.”
— To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com