Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana hosted Express Enrollment at their location in Valparaiso on Saturday, August 8. While this event takes place every year, the necessity for social distancing made things look a bit different than usual.
Students had the option this year of enrolling virtually or in-person. In previous years, attendance was in-person only. Those who chose to attend the physical Express Enrollment Day had to wait patiently before being let inside.
“We want students to have the option to come to campus, especially for those who need help or don’t prefer a virtual environment and are looking for a safe environment to enroll in classes,” Marketing Director Kimmie LaBarge said. “Our students are the best. They’ve been so patient today as we work through this new way of offering services. It’s been really cool to see everyone come together.”
When students and parents or guardians pulled up to campus, a traffic guard directed them to an outdoor tent in the North Parking Lot where a staff member checked the student in and gave them a queue. Students then parked in the South Parking Lot and waited for a text telling them when they could go inside and where they needed to go.
Once inside, staff members connected with students at a table. After loading students up with free T-Shirts, masks, and hand sanitizer, staff members walked students to the classroom number they received through text. In the classrooms, students talked to advisors either in-person or via webcam to enroll in classes for the fall semester. New students who still needed to register were also able to go through the registration process at this event.
This process looked vastly different than the past where students were able to gather and wait in the Express Enrollment Center. If students did have to wait, they instead sat in the lobby where tables were spaced out and had only one chair each. Blackbird Café was also at the event welcoming guests with drinks and pastries once they entered the building.
While the event had to be adjusted from its usual atmosphere and process, Chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Valparaiso Campus, Aco Sikoski, was thrilled to be able to offer students virtual and personal access to Express Enrollment Day. He was eager to welcome students and alleviate their fears and concerns about enrolling for classes during a pandemic.
“Potential students and current students can come and see people face-to-face and register as well,” Sikoski said. “We are so grateful to have Ivy Tech reach out in our wonderful community, provide the best services, and offer education under these circumstances. We are now opening classes on August 24. I am encouraging students not to take a gap year. We have all kinds of delivery: face-to-face, virtual, or blended.”
While some students opted to enroll from home or take virtual classes, 67-year-old Vicki Durham, who was furloughed during COVID-19, was excited to come to campus for registration. After seeing what was happening because of the pandemic, she decided to join the frontlines to become a phlebotomy technician.
“I really wanted to get a feel of the campus,” Durham said. “I wanted to come in, talk to some people, and just feel the campus out. Both of my daughters went here. I love it here. Everyone is so friendly and so helpful.”
Deven Palm also chose to attend the event in person to get started in Ivy Tech’s HVAC program.
“I wanted to get certified and get started in August as soon as I can,” Palm said. “I want to get signed up for my classes and get started.”
For students who would like to attend an upcoming Express Enrollment Day, Ivy Tech’s Michigan City location will be hosting one on Wednesday, August 12 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. The Michigan City location is at 3714 Franklin St.
To sign up for Michigan City’s Enrollment Day, follow this link Ivytech.qualtrics.com.