From student to student, the college experience can widely vary. Reasons that determine how these experiences differ are as different as the students themselves and the communities they represent. If we were to examine past education, majors chosen, life choices outside of classroom, and the community each individual comes from, we might then be able to start appreciating what a melting pot UVU is becoming.
In the Fall of 2011, according to UVU’s Institutional Research and Information Department, the total head count of students enrolled and attending classes was 33,395. Out of that number, 29,240 were from the state of Utah, leaving 3,668 from other U.S. states and 436 students from 70 different countries.
Every person has a different story when it comes to attending UVU, but most have a common underlying theme for why they have come to UVU—practicality. According to Elizabeth S. Nield of Cancun, Mexico, Utah wasn’t even close to where she wanted to move. She’d rather have gone to Europe. However, because of a financial hiccup caused by a necessary surgery for her father, she was unable to go. But Nield was invited to move to Utah by her family. In 2003, she was able to accept the invitation and began courses at BYU.
After meeting and marrying her husband, her mother in-law convinced her to look into UVU because of its appealing tuition, financial opportunities and programs.
“Before coming to UVU, I had the ambition to work in a bank. I was into banking and accounting,” Nield said. “But now I just love helping the community.”
Another example is freshman Gloria Clegg, born in Peru, who moved to Florida in 2004. Not even a month passed before she decided she wanted to feel safe in her new country. Being LDS, she knew Utah had an active LDS community, to which she wanted to belong.
“There are a lot of gangs in Florida, and I was scared. It wasn’t the environment I wanted to be in,” said Clegg. “But in Utah, the religious influence feels more like a protective bubble.”
According to Clegg, she decided to attend UVU instead of BYU because of the impracticalities associated with BYU.
“It just seemed that if I went to BYU, I would just be wasting my time. It takes two years to graduate from BYU’s ESL program, but at UVU it’s only four semesters,” said Clegg.
Then there’s Cesar Ramirez of Venezuela, a freshman in Computer Sciences. He first moved to Boston in 2011 to start his academic career. However, he moved to Utah at the beginning of 2012 in hopes of finding a “more formal education”.
“The cost of tuition is much better here,” said Ramirez. “What I would have paid for a month at school in Boston, I now pay for a year at UVU.”
Because of various opportunities provided to the student body, many enjoy memorable experiences. Because of the safety of our location, financial opportunities, and how we touch the lives of those around us, many flavors and tastes are added to our melting pot campus daily.