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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Cascade campus benefits students

Friday, February 15, 2008  
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By Lori Woodfin

Students at Oklahoma Christian University's branch campus, Cascade College, have a different campus scenery setting.

Within an hour's drive of Cascade, students can be in the snowy mountains taking advantage of the slopes by skiing or snowboarding, or they can be at the beaches of the Pacific Coast.

Cascade College in Portland, Ore. became the branch campus of Oklahoma Christian in 1993.

Prior to becoming the branch campus, the college had been the Columbia Christian College.

Because of financial problems, the Board of Columbia Christian looked for help from other Christian universities.

In 1993, the Oklahoma Christian Board of Trustees decided to open a branch campus in the Pacific Northwest on the campus of Columbia Christian. Since then, the campus has recovered from financial difficulty.

With the enrollment of about 300 students, the campus environment is different from the environment at Oklahoma Christian, senior Spencer Goad said.

"It's a very tight community, and I miss that at times," Spencer said.

Spencer was born and raised in Edmond, Okla. His family moved to the Pacific Northwest when his father, Bill Goad, took a position working with Cascade in 2003 after working at Oklahoma Christian for many years.

Spencer attended Cascade College his freshman year in the fall of 2005.

With Cascade's limited academic program, Spencer transferred to the main campus to pursue a degree in computer information systems.

Spencer's first semester at the university was spent abroad on the Vienna Studies Program in 2006.

The trip assisted Spencer with his transition into Oklahoma Christian. His closest friends are the ones he made during his first semester, and his suite mates are friends he made on the trip.

Spencer said not only was the size different from Cascade, but the cultural was different as well.

"Even though you're still talking about two schools within the United States and within the Church of Christ tradition, there is the difference in the environment and especially in the Portland culture," Spencer said.

Cascade is located within the city limits of Portland, which has a population of about 1.5 million people.

Senior Adam Boderman transferred from Cascade to main campus in the fall of 2007.Boderman participated in the Fall Vienna Studies Program in the 2006, and the trip had a definite impact in his decision to attend Oklahoma Christian.

"I think traveling in a broken down German train for three months will bring about change in anybody's life," Boderman said.

Boderman returned to Cascade for the spring semester of 2007 but didn't enjoy Cascade as much as he did before.

"I think my main reason from coming to OC was probably because my girlfriend that I had met while on the Vienna Studies Program was going to school here," Boderman said. "However, after coming back from Vienna and going back to a school of 300 students, everything had changed."

Boderman said he didn't feel as connected as he had once been. The size of school was definitely a change.

"The blessing and curse of Cascade is its size," Boderman said. "It's a different experience at Cascade, being able to be on a first name basis with the majority of your professors. However, it gets a little old seeing the same people over and over again."

Club emphasis is another strong difference between the two campuses. Boderman said the emphasis on clubs here at the university is more intense than at Cascade where club interest lasts about a week.

Boderman plans to graduate this summer from Oklahoma Christian with a degree in business.

"While there are times where I had wished I had come to OC earlier, I can honestly say that my experience at Cascade has had a major impact in the person that I have become," Boderman said.

Students from Cascade are not the only ones transferring within the university branches. Students at Oklahoma Christian have an interest in transferring to Cascade as well.

Senior Leah Willis transferred to Cascade this semester to take advantage of living somewhere else and meeting new people.

"I have never been anywhere near the Northwest, so for me it was a cheap 'study abroad,'" Willis said.

Willis said the weather with many cold and rainy days is not her favorite. However, she enjoys the small campus community.

"It is so easy to make friends at Cascade and become really close," Willis said. "Everyone is extremely friendly."

Junior Stephen Drew feels the same way about the small campus community at Cascade.

"People know each other's business, but the best part is no one cares about it," Drew said. "It's very tight, almost like the youth group feel rather than a college, which I'm cool with since I'm a youth ministry major."

Drew transferred to Cascade this semester as well.

Although Drew misses his brothers of Delta Gamma Sigma, he is enjoying his time at Cascade.

Drew especially enjoys skiing, which is not only a pastime enjoyed by many Cascade students, but also a class offered at the college.

"The best times are on the slopes," Drew said. "A lot of students head up the hill, and we're the last ones to leave, so we get to hang out some in the powder."

Drew also enjoys being able to see Mt. Hood in Oregon and Mt. St. Helens in Washington from the same spot.

Drew said every student needs to check out Cascade and look into attending there for a semester.

While Cascade doesn't offer as many classes as Oklahoma Christian, Cascade does offer some unique classes.

Students in the Personal Spiritual Development class go hiking in the nearby mountains and camp for a few nights. Scripture is incorporated into the trip, allowing the experience to be both physical and spiritual.

During the past 14 years, Oklahoma Christian has benefited from having Cascade as a branch campus.

Cascade provides a great place for students who are looking for a change in scenery and lifestyle.

Oklahoma Christian is providing the same opportunities for Cascade students both here in Oklahoma and abroad.


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