When Jeremy Burnham wasn’t in class, he was at a welcome table near the business building, greeting fellow students, helping them find their way and sending them off with healthy snacks and a smile.
Burnham is a student leader at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, which had its first day of fall quarter on Monday.
“There’s nothing like the first day back,” Burnham said. “The energy is way up. It’s so much different than even four weeks later.”
Burnham is one of several thousand students taking classes at the Pasco-based college this quarter.
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Enrollment was at 6,715 students on Monday. That’s an increase of about 1.5 percent over the 6,616 students last year.
Rich Cummins, CBC president, said enrollment should reach about 7,000 students.
With internal curriculum initiatives and capital projects, he’s expecting a “busy, action-packed” 2016-17 academic year.
There’s nothing like the first day back. The energy is way up. It’s so much different than even four weeks later.
Jeremy Burnham, CBC student leader
The capital projects include a new residence hall near 20th Avenue and Argent Road in Pasco, plus a second health science center and a new social sciences and world languages center.
Ground was broken on the $7 million first phase of a new student residence hall — a first for CBC — earlier this month. It’s set to open next fall.
The new Wortman Medical Science Center in Richland is under construction and also will open next fall.
And the news Social Sciences and World Languages Center on CBC’s Pasco campus is set to open in time for winter quarter.
For Cummins, fall is a special time.
“There’s something about when the morning gets cool and crisp. It’s a signal that it’s time to get back to school and learn new things. I’m pretty excited about it,” he said.
Burnham is, too.
The 32-year-old Kennewick man is starting his second year at CBC.
He earned his GED last year, and immediately set his sights on the Pasco college.
He took the GED exams at CBC, and “the energy of the place made me want to go to school here and experience education here. It was something I wanted to be part of,” he said.
Now he is.
Burnham, who’s taking a full load of classes and acting as a service and activities officer, plans to finish his associate’s degree this school year and then head to Eastern Washington University to study journalism.
For him, attending college is realization of a goal.
“I’m extremely excited about the new school year,” he said.