Events to spotlight older students value on campus

Shannon Columb, Staff Writer

Nontraditional students will be recognized next week, Nov. 7-11 for their accomplishments and efforts in continuing their education.

The week will be packed with events for nontraditional students. The celebration will start with a Coffee Kickoff, and every day during the lunch period, speakers from various departments on campus speak about a variety of topics.

Speakers include: Erica Fischer from University Health and Counseling Services, who will speak about studying tips, and Dan Colleran from Global Education who will talk about short-term travel opportunities. All presentations will be held in the NonTrad Pad, room 133 in the University Center.

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, an award ceremony will be held and five nontraditional students will receive the “Outstanding Adult Student Award” and one faculty member will receive the “Concern for Adults Returning to Education (CARE) award.” Throughout the week, nontraditional students can take part in free bowling and billiards and are encouraged to bring their families.

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater started celebrating the nationally recognized week in 2011, after an influx of nontraditional students appeared on campus. Nontraditional students are those over 25 years of age, are veterans, parents or employees. There are about 850 nontraditional students on campus, making up about 10 percent. .

“As a nontraditional student, we’ve had lives, we’ve had jobs, and something happened in our life that made us choose at this point to go back to school,” said President of Adult Student Connections, Jennifer Lytle. The influx of nontraditional students that occurred in 2011 was due to the closing of two major auto industries in Janesville.

Other reasons for people to return to school include needing a bachelor’s degree to move up in a job, are going through a transition, either through a divorce or their kids are in school, or have returned from service.

Lytle said that unlike traditional students, college “isn’t just the next natural step for [nontraditional students], something drove us here.”

The drive that gets nontraditional students here, often gives them more dedication to school than traditional students.

“They are dedicated, engaged consumers of their education,” Lynn Smith, Student Services Coordinator said. “They bring a lot of unique experiences that make the learning come alive.”

This week is a way to bring awareness to the student group. “We do find that we do not entirely fit in, but we’re here, we’re students, just like everybody else and trying to learn everything so we can graduate…we have the same goal, we just do it a little bit differently,” stated Lytle.

For a full list of events, check out