Community is defined as "a group of people with common characteristics or interests living together within a larger society," and that rings true at Concordia University Wisconsin.
Here are some of the ways Community is developed at Concordia University Wisconsin:
- We help students become integrated into the campus community soon after they arrive on campus and get them acclimated to college life.
- We have 19 Campus Ministry Teams to choose from.
- We offer more than 30 intercollegiate sports, and a myriad of fine arts opportunities.
- We have a Counseling Center, an on-campus nurse within the Student Health Center, and a number of dining options that are available to resident and non-resident students alike.
- We have special, financial aid opportunities including Adopt-A-Student.
- We have an Office of Multicultural Engagement and a Black Student Union that makes students feel valued.
Coordinator for Student Activities and Orientation Megan Theesfeld believes students are looking for a variety of experiences outside the classroom when they arrive on campus. “We developed the New Student Experience in a way that makes them feel welcomed,” said Theesfeld “and we work hard to connect them with faculty, staff and upperclassmen to build a support network.” Fall Welcome Weekend activities stretch beyond campus, so students become familiar with not only their campus community, but Mequon and downtown Milwaukee.
“New students have access to a variety of wellness-based activities, and they can choose which experience will benefit them the most,” added Theesfeld. “It’s great for students to choose their own adventures as they start building their life at Concordia.”
Falcon Frenzy, a long-standing, six-week retention program with giveaways and prizes, helps keep students connected as they adjust to campus living. The Campus Activities Board (CAB) hosts events every Friday and Saturday ranging from bands and magicians, to a hiking trip to Devil’s Lake State Park near Madison.
Theesfeld says her favorite on-campus event was the ice skating night outside Wittenberg in February. “Our team provided ice skates so they could come and skate under the stars. It was so rewarding to see all those students come together.”
For Alyssa Kagay, a 2019 Rehabilitative Science graduate currently enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Program, an opportunity to be involved in Campus Ministry was one of the main reasons she chose CUW. “I appreciated that Concordia was a smaller school and would give me a chance to become involved in campus ministry and music, even though I was not a church work or music major,” explained Kagay. “Knowing I would be surrounded by professors and students who loved the Lord and would help me grow in faith really set Concordia apart from most other colleges I toured.”
The Grayslake, Illinois native started out in Haven as a pianist her freshman year, before moving up to Coordinator as a junior, the same year she began graduate school. “We planned a trip to CUAA with the Haven band leaders for a joint concert with their band and we also partnered with our Campus Activities Board to put on the first-ever Haven & Hammocks,” noted Kagay, who earlier this spring won the Campus Ministry Student Leader of the Year Award.
Vice President of the Alpha Chi Honors Society, she participated in spring break mission trips, was a member of Nursing Home Ministry and Ladies in God’s Hands Together, and played flute in both the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Pep Band.
Concordia offers more than 30 intercollegiate sports, along with music, drama and a fine arts gallery that features the works of students throughout the academic year.
Marquis Thorn, a senior defensive back who started four games last season as a junior for coach Greg Etter’s Falcons, chose Concordia after earning eight varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball and track at Kipp Atlanta Collegiate High School. “Most of my teammates have become my closest friends who I value very much because of their support,” said Thorn, who won the “Mr. Concordia” contest last fall sponsored by Student Activities. “Everyone around me encouraged my success and they’ve pushed me to be a leader.”
Thorn, who plays the cello, guitar, violin, viola and the drums and is designing a clothing brand, chose CUW to study social work not only because of the beautiful campus, but the coaches and the environment. “I was encouraged by my teammates and friends to run for Mr. Concordia,” quipped Thorn, who was unexpectedly nominated by his resident director.
Karin Rose Heiser, a biomedical science graduate this spring, played clarinet, 1st chair in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, in addition to being concertmaster for that select group. “Karin is also an accomplished tenor saxophonist,” noted longtime Director of Music Dr. Louis Menchaca, “and was to be a featured soloist at our spring concert.”
The Counseling Center provides invaluable resources for a student feeling stressed, having difficulties adjusting to college life, or a myriad of other reasons. The center is open weekdays from 7-5 p.m. for individual counseling sessions, and by appointment. A Student Health Center is open weekdays from 8-4 p.m. and works in partnership with students in providing convenient and affordable services by nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
The Academic Resource Center is available for students online and in-person offering free tutoring, test proctoring, a math drop-in-desk and writing assistance, among other resources.
Concordia’s Adopt-A-Student program pairs a student with a donor, whereby the student provides updates with that donor during the academic year. Vyctoria Smith, a 2021 Lutheran Secondary Education and Biology major, was a 2020 recipient of this scholarship from a six-year donor. “It’s an incredible feeling to know that someone specifically chose to invest in me, and I cannot thank my donor Ken enough,” Smith said.
“I remain overwhelmed and humbled by the impact and response from students I’ve been paired with,” noted Ken. “It’s been as much a gift to me as it has been for them.”
Office of Multicultural Engagement…
“We seek to create an environment where all community members feel included, essential, valued and can realize their full potential,” said Director of Multicultural Engagement Walter Goodwyn, MBA, who started in 2017 as director of the Emerging Scholars Program at the university’s Midtown Center. Students in that program can earn an AA degree in business or justice and public policy. Concordia’s Multicultural Engagement Office also gets students involved in the Pathfinders Mentoring Program, Fall Welcome, the Gospel Choir and a Living Uncommon Multicultural Engagement Event.
The OME additionally oversees the Unlimited Potential Scholars program representing underserved students who possess artistic, dramatic or athletic talents. It will match those scholars this fall with an adult mentor and a member of the preceding class who will serve as a peer mentor. “We understand that the college transition can be tough and have made a decision to provide a mentoring resource,” noted Goodwyn.
“The Black Student Union leads in the areas of equity, equality, teaching and mentoring for all students,” stressed Eugene Pitchford III, advisor. “We often have relationships with incoming students years before they arrive on campus due to our management through service projects.” Pitchford is proud of the way the BSU communicates with students in every social media way imaginable, saying it begins with trust, honesty and support.
If you are looking for a caring and Christian community where students learn to Live Uncommon, consider Concordia University Wisconsin’s 200-acre campus on the shore of Lake Michigan, only 15 minutes north of Milwaukee. Registration is open for the fall semester, so click here to speak to someone in the Undergraduate Admissions Office, here to take a virtual tour of campus or here to apply.
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