GABBY MCCOY, KNIGHT WIRE SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
Wartburg West, an urban studies program in Denver, Colorado, continues even with the global pandemic going on.
The program is designed specifically for Wartburg College students and students from associated partner colleges. Seven Wartburg students of various years participated in the program this past summer.
Through experiential learning in an urban setting, students clarify their vocational goals, develop professional skills, and refine their personal values. Most students have an internship in Denver on top of the classes they are taking.
“My expectations for the Fall Term were very vague. I knew I was moving over 700 miles away and was going to be out of my comfort zone every day,” said Mallory Thys, second-year Wartburg West student for Fall Term. “My Wartburg West experience has been exciting, adventurous, and eye-opening thus far. I’ve been given the opportunity to explore what urban living entails as well as take classes and partake in an internship.”
A fourth-year student, Alexa Ganzeveld, interned as a multimedia marketing intern at Comedy Works this past summer. The position involved creating social media promotional materials, writing press releases, blog posts and radio spots, writing and designing email newsletters, and creating Facebook and Instagram ads.
“Every day was different, and the fast-paced environment gave me the opportunity to grow my skills and work collaboratively,” Ganzeveld said.
Wartburg West persevered even with COVID. This past summer, students got tested for the coronavirus bi-weekly. They also followed all the guidelines and procedures put in place by the University of Colorado-Denver, which is a collaborative university with Wartburg West.
“Students are experiencing the future of the workforce because a lot of companies and businesses are switching to a hybrid approach. This is where they are in person a few days a week and then work online the rest of the week,” said Dr. Greg Lorenz, the Urban Studies program director for Wartburg West.
Wartburg students are living through history in the making. Many Wartburg West students experienced this hybrid work model through the summer and as well as this fall. Several were able to have a fully in-person experience.
“I am vaccinated, and my company was small, so we were able to be fully in-person,” Ganzeveld said. “My summer internship gave me the experience of living and working in a big city like Denver while creating content for a company in the entertainment industry. Every day was different, and the fast-paced environment gave me the opportunity to grow my skills and work collaboratively.”
As a part of the Wartburg West program, students live in campus housing located at Lynx Crossing on the Austria Campus of the University of Denver-Colorado. The campus is shared between the University of Denver-Colorado, Metropolitan State University and the Community College of Denver.
Students get the opportunity to have a different learning experience within the classroom and the workplace. Wartburg West has a different approach to learning. It does not focus on sitting in the classroom and memorizing a textbook. There is a huge emphasis on hands-on learning.
“Learning doesn’t have to happen in a traditional way,” Lorenz said. “We have class outside quite a bit. This week we had class while we went for a hike.”