Southwestern College Begins Semester with Record Enrollment and Heightened Safety Measures

Southwestern College opened its 136th year with a record 630 full-time students enrolled for the fall semester. The college has welcomed 227 freshmen to campus this year, which tops the previous largest freshman class (2017) by nearly 40 students.

JK 77 Photo: New transfer student Matt Hinnen climbs the 77 steps alongside his academic advisor, J.K. Campbell, on the first day of class, Aug. 10. Hinnen, a physical performance and sports studies major, is one of 630 students who have enrolled at Southwestern for the semester.

“It is a joy to see students at home on our hill again,” said President Brad Andrews. “Our students are fully aware of the unique opportunities and obligations that come with being a college student in these times. They have done a great job adapting to the new normal on campus. These are great people and we are proud that they are Builders.”

Southwestern began moving students into residence halls on July 23 to begin a campus-wide pre-semester quarantine. As students reported for their assigned check-in they were tested for COVID-19, as were non-residential students, faculty, staff, and coaches. Classes began on Monday, Aug. 10, making Southwestern the first college in the region to resume classes.  Additionally, masks are required to be worn by everyone on campus, and increased cleaning practices have been implemented.

“We are committed to moving forward and moving forward safely. While many facets of the student experience have necessarily been modified, students are still engaged as they usually are – learning, sharing in traditions, and creating meaningful relationships,” said Andrews. “We know that an in-person residential education has a profoundly positive effect on student outcomes, including higher grade point averages and graduation rates.”

The college’s revised academic calendar brought students back to campus earlier and discourages non-essential travel throughout the semester by eliminating three-day weekends. Accordingly, classes will be held on Labor Day and Fall Break has been canceled. Starting the semester earlier and canceling breaks allows the college to complete finals prior to Thanksgiving on Nov. 24. 

“We all have to stay focused and accountable to one another,” said Andrews. “Our success as a campus community relies on shared responsibility, care, and respect. As we stick to the plan and adhere to our community health pledge, there’s nothing keeping us from making this a great semester.”


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