Lewis Central High School graduate Madelin Howard of Council Bluffs looks for supplies Monday as classes get underway at Iowa Western Community College.

Iowa Western Community College started its fall term Monday with classes and new student orientation.

The new school year seems to be off to a good start, said Don Kohler, vice president of marketing and public relations.

“In general, it’s looking pretty good,” he said. “Our housing numbers are good.”

Kohler said 92% of the college housing units are occupied.

“That’s a good sign that we have a good class coming in for the fall,” he said.

It’s too early to talk about actual enrollment numbers, though, President Dan Kinney said during a meeting of the Iowa Western Board of Trustees.

The college is holding a series of events as part of Welcome Week activities, Kohler said. It began with an ice cream social Thursday, followed by a game truck Friday, dodgeball Saturday, wings and yard games Sunday and Reiver Bingo Monday evening. Activities will continue with speed friending tonight, donuts and coffee Wednesday morning, football Thursday night and pancakes Friday night.

“Obviously, the first week can be a stressful time for new students, so what we try to do is offer activities to get them comfortable with the campus,” he said. “Everyone is anxiously awaiting the official opening of the wellness center, which we hope will be in the next couple weeks.”

The college is expanding its service learning program so students have more opportunities to learn while serving the community, according to Matt Mancuso, who oversees the program, which already yields thousands of hours of volunteer service.

Events the program helps staff include the college’s preschool health and safety fair, Earth Day, Fathers Matter and others.

“We’re looking to integrate service learning across more programs,” he said.

This year, the college has a second full-time AmeriCorps volunteer and 15 part-time AmeriCorps workers, Mancuso said. At least one of them will help train faculty on service learning in a new professional development retreat.

“Service learning is becoming an accreditation requirement,” Kinney said. “We’re way, way ahead on that.”

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