▶️’My first time out of the nest’: COCC welcomes 300 students to campus housing

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Amid the unpacking of boxes and flurry of feet in the hallway, emotions were high for students and parents alike at Central Oregon Community College’s move-in day.

“This is my first time out of the nest,” said Iysha Macy, a freshman from Warm Springs.

For her mom, Colleta, the day meant even more.

“She’s the first one to go to college, because I had her when I was 14,” she said. “And so I didn’t get to do all these things that she’s going above and beyond doing, so she’s making me really proud.”

Iysha is one of roughly 300 students living in Wickiup Hall this year, filling up rooms left empty since June of 2020.

Students were able to apply through a first come, first serve process which opens in February each year.

Community Assistant Ryan Rhodes said he’s been training for almost a month to live among the students and help build community.

“It’s amazing, 300 new faces I’m so excited to meet,” he said. “They all seem amazing. I’m so excited to have this building alive again…we’ve been working around the clock to make sure everything’s perfect.”

With new students come new risks…and new rules.

“Masks are required anytime a student is outside of a suite,” Director of Student and Campus Life Andrew Davis said. “Our students had to do a self-attestation form ahead of time to show proof of vaccination or to do an exemption process, and the students who are exempt are going to be tested weekly for COVID.

“We also limited outside guests. Normally students can bring non-Wickiup residents in during certain hours; they can’t do that this year, at least for a period of time, and we limited the number of people who are in anyone’s suite at one time, just to minimize group size.” 

One thing that hasn’t changed…those start-of-school jitters.

“I always tell students, it’s totally ok to be nervous, we expect that,” Davis said. “But we’ve got a lot of good staff and other students who can help them figure out how to navigate college, they can come to us with questions and concerns and after a little bit of time those nerves will work their way out.”

Iysha hopes the upcoming school year will help her break out of her shell.

“I’m a little scared, nervous, but I have high hopes, I got this!” she said.

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