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An Interview On
Centre College

Background

Interview Date:November 2019

Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private Catholic school in Louisville, KY with about 300 students in the graduating class. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Major: Economics & Finance
Minor: Politics
Extracurricular Activities: I’m the Student Government Association (SGA), Greek life, and Centre Ambassadors.

Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
Greek life and the student government have had a big impact. The student government has helped me develop leadership skills and has opened opportunities to be involved in committees throughout the college. Greek life has had an impact on meeting all sorts of people from different backgrounds and making friends with people I might not have crossed paths with otherwise.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
In Economics & Finance, earlier on in the program the work is more exam and project-based work. But, a lot of the professors mix things up and have lots of different ways of teaching to make sure students are learning. Later on, the classes are more project-based, so we have an econometrics series in the major that has semester-long projects. I’m in an equity research class now where the majority of the grade is a single project where we value a company. It becomes more hands-on and application-based as you move throughout the major.

Is there anything you feel that your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
What they do especially well across departments is the student-professor engagement. They’re very big on opening up opportunities for students to engage with their professors, whether that just simply be at office hours or the Economics Society where you engage with professors outside of classwork. The Politics department does something called Pizza and Politics where two professors take different sides on a topic and have a discussion with students about it.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I’d say it’s more collaborative. Although we’re a pretty rigorous place where people take academics seriously, people aren’t competing against each other. It’s more about achieving our own levels of success. All along we’re eventually competing for a spot in graduate school or a job, but throughout that process I’d call it more collaborative.

How accessible are your professors?
They’ve very accessible. I think that’s one of the big highlights of a Centre education. A lot of times you’ll hear alumni say that’s one of their favorite things about the school. The undergraduate teaching is highly ranked and that’s because there are so many opportunities to engage with professors, whether that be on classwork or research. A lot of professors want students to be heavily involved in the research they’re doing, so they make opportunities for you to stay over the summer or over the term.

Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I do, and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed. When we have a discussion, there are always going to be people who think on both sides of an argument and view an issue differently. The professors and the environment we work on creating is how to meet each other in the middle if you have different thoughts on something.

Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I started out not entirely sure what I wanted to major in. The nature of a lot of liberal arts colleges is people come in sort of undecided wanting to get a broad perspective. I came in interested in finance and looked into economics. I began taking courses and the nice thing is early on you’re taking courses in a lot of subjects. The fact that I enjoyed those classes the most made me feel really comfortable deciding to declare that major. I have been very pleased with it and it’s one of the larger majors here. There are a lot of opportunities to take that into graduate school or get a job directly out of Centre. I’ve been pleased with it.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on and around campus?
Freshman: Nevin Hall with one roommate

Sophomore: Breckinridge Hall in a single for the fall, then I studied abroad in the spring

Junior: Pearl Hall with one roommate

Senior: In my Greek house

What was your favorite living situation?
I’ve enjoyed the Greek house this year. The college owns the Greek houses here, so this was one that’s kind of historic. It has a nice homey feel to it. There are private bathrooms and lots of living spaces.

How was transitioning from Louisville to Danville, Kentucky?
I’m a city person and after graduating I plan on working or going to graduate school in a city. I enjoyed it. The town-gown relationship is strong and getting stronger. We’re very engaged in the community and it’s very invested in us. Since [Danville] is a smaller community, [the school] is very much a part of them. We’re right next to downtown Danville, so there are some restaurants and shops. It’s been a change for me but I’ve really enjoyed feeling engaged in the community.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
Centre is a very safe campus. It’s not closed off so we’re not a gated campus or anything. We have the department of public safety and they pretty much take care of anything that needs to be taken care of. They take care of anything from rides across campus to responding to calls. I’ve always felt very safe, and I think that’s some of the nature of a small town is people hold each other accountable.

Pros and cons of being located in Danville, Kentucky?
Pros:
1) The community’s invested and interested in the success of Centre. They feel as if it’s part of them.
2) There are so many opportunities to get involved in the community. We’re constantly developing new ways for students to get involved with economic development and social entrepreneurship. You’re able to work with businesses that will allow you to get more hands-on experience with what you’re learning.
3) The setting is beautiful. The campus is in an area with some rolling hills, and there are lots of outdoor opportunities right around the corner from us such as state or national parks. There are great hiking opportunities.

Cons:
1) Being in a smaller place, there are not as much social or nightlife opportunities in the town. A lot of events and activities are on campus.
2) If you’re interested in forming a relationship with a business, there may not be as many opportunities in Danville, so a lot of people end up going to Louisville or any larger city. Not a lot of people end up staying here post-graduation.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Being a member of Greek life, there are lots of parties, service events, fundraisers, and philanthropy events going on. I like to participate in at least one of those on the weekends. We have several other outlets, we have something called The Student Activities Council (SAC) which is a student-run organization the puts on fun events. During Halloween, they’ll have a haunted house, and through our Student Life Office, we have a Campus Activites department that puts on events throughout the year. CC After Dark is a more popular one, where there are all kinds of themed activities like inflatable things in our student center or cafeteria. We’ve had virtual reality games and masseuses come in to give massages. I like doing some events from Greek life and some from outside organizations.

What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
If I were to do something, it would be Friday or Saturday most likely. During the week, it’s more club or student organization meetings or study groups.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I think we do a good job integrating Greek life into campus. About half the students are involved in Greek life, but the houses aren’t owned by the Greek organizations. Most of our members live in residence halls with students not involved in Greek life, and we don’t eat in the Greek houses. Most of our events are open to the whole campus to make sure anyone who wants to stop by can participate in those events. I think it adds to the social environment.

How happy are you with the weekend activities or nightlife at your school? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m pleased with them and we keep adding more. There are over 2,000 student events throughout a given year. The one thing I look for post-college is an environment where there’s more entertainment venues or concerts. We do have a big arts center on campus that hosts different musical acts and performances.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
All in different ways. One of my closest friends I met through orientation. All new students come to campus a few days early and have an orientation leader and small groups. They go through training and different programs to learn about Centre and college life before starting class. I knew a few other people coming ahead of time and sat with them at lunch. Another one I met later in the fall just by having similar lunchtimes. Others I met periodically through Greek events, campus activity events, and classes.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Centre?
I’d say it’s a social yet academic and serious campus. Centre students take their classes seriously, are involved in a lot of student organizations. Friday and Saturday are more fun events when the student body is active and having fun.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I have friends from all sorts of backgrounds and perspectives. I think whether it be racial, sexual, or political, we mix pretty well on campus. We have an active Office of Diversity and Inclusion that works closely with student organizations. We also have a day called Building Bridges and Community Day where classes end early and there are over 50 sessions taught by professors where we go and learn about different topics. One of my sessions this year was on political polarization and how you find common values and policy differences. There are also sessions on race and sexual orientation. The student body and staff make conscious efforts to make sure we’re not segmenting each other out. [The undergraduate population is 72% White, 5% Black, 7% Hispanic, and 5% Asian.]

To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
I’d say they mix really well. One of my closest friends is not in Greek life. There’s a lot of overlap. By the virtue of how involved people get in their organizations, they tend to have more friends in that organization than out of it. It’s nice having open parties and events for students who aren’t in Greek life to always feel welcomed to come to the houses.

How would you describe the student body?
In terms of classwork, we’re collaborators and communicators. We are social, serious, and very driven while working toward our graduate school or the job you want to get. We’re also very loyal and we have pretty high alumni engagement rates.

How do you like the size of Centre? How has that impacted your experience? [Centre has about 1,500 undergraduates.]
I like the smaller atmosphere. We cap all of our classes at 30 people and the average class size is 18, so it’s very easy to get into a class with fewer than 20 people. You’ll have a very personal learning experience and you’re going to know a lot of people on campus, but you’ll always have an opportunity to meet someone new. I’ve really enjoyed that because it makes for a more engaging learning environment.

Do people generally seem happy with Centre by senior year? Do people leave loving Centre?
I think that’s something most people leave very happy with Centre. There’s been a ranking about us having the happiest alumni in the country.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yes, it has. We have a lot of alumni that are engaged in helping students find a job. I’ll meet alumni over homecoming or through a professor. One offered to help connect me with someone at a company I’m interested in working or interning for.

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
They’ve been helpful. I’ve used them while looking for internships and jobs. They can help plug you into an online job database and a database of alumni through the Handshake platform. They help update your resume, teach interview skills, and host sessions throughout the year that is event planning.

Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that will be helpful professionally?
I’ve used Excel in a lot of my finance courses, and we used a program in the Economics department called Stata.

Financial Aid

Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs?
They’re very responsive. I’ve used them leading up to Centre, and periodically checking in on scholarship updates. I haven’t had to go to them too much. [90% of students receive some kind of aid.]

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Centre before entering as a freshman?
I would’ve like to know earlier about our alumni network. I know a lot of alumni, but learning how to best engage and use them for internship opportunities would have been helpful. My first summer I didn’t use the network.

What is something a prospective student interested in Greek life may want to know that we haven’t touched on yet?
The biggest thing is how we have deferred recruitment, so instead of students having to choose if they want to join an organization in August, they have until February to decide. They get to meet with members and understand the cultures of different organizations before they end up making a choice. That’s a huge difference for students, instead of feeling pressured to decide in the first week or two that you’re on campus.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
You don’t get to see some of the athletic fields, so drive through there. The Jones Visual Arts Center (JVAC) is really cool and is where the visual art programs are held, including the hot glass program.

Reasons to attend Centre:
1) The student-professor relationship.
2) Community engagement, in terms of town-gown relationships.
3) The close-knit student body.
4) The study abroad programs.
5) The excellent career preparation and the big network of alumni.

Reasons to not attend Centre:
1) If you don’t like small towns.
2) If you are looking for a very specific graduate track program or being a specific type of engineer. We don’t have an engineering program, but we have a pre-engineering track.

Notice: Centre College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Centre College.

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