Just a few months ago, Grace Sereno graduated from T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville. While the location may make it seem like Sereno is a local, the truth is she has only lived in the area since beginning her senior year. Despite the relatively short time in the southern Appalachians, she knew Western North Carolina was home. That’s why she didn’t want to go away for college.
“I really love the area that I live in,” Sereno said. “It’s just a great environment as far as the diversity and the scenery. I want to stay in an area where I feel like I belong.”
After 142 students graduated in May, 175 new undergraduates are enrolling this semester. With her family in tow, Sereno took up residence as a first-year student at Warren Wilson College Wednesday. She said her feelings about the campus are in line with her thoughts on Asheville.
“People [at Warren Wilson College] are all different, from their appearance to their walks of life. They all come from different places. They all participate in different activities. It seems really community oriented, and it feels like a close-knit family,” Sereno emphasized.
As Sereno settled in, another first-year student was unloading a car across campus.
Declan King made the 900-mile trek from Brattleboro, Vermont, over two days with his family. It was a familiar trip. In fact, his previous visit to Warren Wilson College changed his entire undergraduate plan.
“I visited the other school I got accepted to, and I fell in love,” King said. “I knew that was the school I was going to, but I thought I should still visit [Warren Wilson College]. Then, I came here, and I was head over heels. There’s no way I wasn’t coming to [Warren Wilson College].”
King, who plans to study sculpture and art history, said the glimpse he got of a Warren Wilson College education sold him.
“This is a place where people are making things and living a life where they are self-sufficient. I want to seek that out as well as be a part of the group of people in the art program. And as a burgeoning outdoor educator, I am excited to expand my leadership skills [through the Work Program],” he added.
The College’s educational model, which enhances the liberal arts through on-campus work and community engagement, also appeals to Sereno.
“You’re not just focused on one major or one area of study,” Sereno said. “You’re doing work in areas where you might not have been exploring before. You’re getting perspective and gaining all this experience that this school allows you to get, whereas another school might not because you don’t get those kinds of opportunities.”
Like Sereno, the sense of community plays into King’s desire to study at Warren Wilson College.
“This school is a perfect size and has a perfect attitude for me to meet people and learn about humans on a fairly small scale. The sense of community that I got here is a lot different from [other schools],” King explained.
And, how does he define community?
“Interdependence on a balanced level,” he said. “There are people all working together toward progress on a kind of general level.”
To learn more about Warren Wilson College or to schedule a visit, go to http://warren-wilson.edu/admission/visit.