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Home Features CUNE boasts highest enrollment since 1968, accommodates students

Photo description: Alison Galchutt, Rachel Ada, and Kelsie Heins study in a David dorm room

Photo credit: Courtney Wright

Nora Betts

Sower Staff

Concordia prepared academics, housing and student life services this fall to accommodate one of the
largest student bodies since 1968, with an estimated 1,240 students on campus this semester.

That compares with the 1,032 students who were on campus last spring.

Vice President of Enrollment and Marketing Gary McDaniel said faculty members are having to teach more
sections with larger class sizes to accommodate the student numbers. The registrar’s office spent the beginning of the semester finalizing classroom changes.

Concordia has seen an influx of academic-only students and students in performance programs, though the
number of student-athletes remains the same as last semester, according to McDaniel.

First-year and transfer students do not declare majors until October, so the most popular undergraduate majors have not yet been determined.

On-campus housing is at maximum capacity, with extra space being reclaimed for use. According to Director of Student Life Rebekah Freed, the dorms generally are full but there is some wiggle room.

Everyone who wanted a dorm room got one.

Freed said resident assistants were trained with an emphasis on intentionally planning their hall events to build community in the dorms.

Concordia has also hired a new Assistant Director of Student Life, Morgan Bow- man, who will focus primarily on student activities. Freed said she is excited to have a position specific to student engagement instead of piecing together responsibilities with- in the Student Life Office.

“For a while – quite a few years – there hasn’t been someone where that’s kind of the core of their job,” said Freed. “We’ve kind of pieced it together.”

Student engagement, Freed said, “includes student activities but is a lot more than that.” She said Bowman’s position focuses on how students engage on campus in a general sense as well as through SLO-sponsored events.

Concordia also hired a part-time nurse and part-time counselor to help in the areas of student life that are likely to become overwhelmed.

“[High enrollment] will impact the number of students going to the nurse’s office and the number of students going in for mental health counseling sessions,” said McDaniel. “The more students you have, the more appointments there will be.”

Freed said students choose Concordia because they see the potential for meaningful connections.

“As I talk to students in general, I think people are looking for connection always,” said Freed. “That’s just a human need we have. And I think this is a place where people see a lot of potential for that – that connection, that community, that I can be known here, I can be seen here, I can find my people.”

Freed also said that faith of- ten is a factor in why students come to Concordia. “We are a university that puts Jesus, the best we can, at the center of it,” she said.

McDaniel said he credits the increase in enrollment to Concordia’s biblical foundation in an increasingly dark world.

“We have made a large effort in the last few years to get the message out that Concordia University is a biblically based, Lutheran institution,” McDaniel said. “[We] believe that the world is getting a little bit darker and that this is a place to come where you can mature in your faith and be lifted up and encouraged. I think families are looking for that.”

McDaniel said the admissions office oversaw more than 100 campus visitations from prospective students last year and connected them with admissions staff and faculty.

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