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1,500 new students are joining other Western Connecticut State University students for the start of classes today.  University spokesman Paul Steinmetz says the new president, John Clarke, has been at the helm for a year.  He spent the first year meeting the university community.  He's done a lot to increase the offerings for students who have entrepreneurial leaning, not just in the Business School, but across the schools.

 

Drivers in Danbury are being reminded about the increase in pedestrian traffic on White Street now that classes are back in session.  The westside campus is also bustling.  It's been two years since the new arts center opened, to great acclaim. 

 

The theater department won a national award last year for best college play with its presentation of Parade.  It was the highest honor a college theater program can get.  Steinmetz says they've always had great theater, music and arts professors--and now they have a building to match the talent.  It's helped to attract a lot of students, those areas all have full programs.

 

Steinmetz says Clarke has also concentrated on making sure that services are available from the time they enroll to when they are employed after graduation.

 

Steinmetz says if it happens when they graduate that's great, but if it takes longer the university will continue to advise former students and give them resources.  There's been a push to make sure students understand what they need to do to prepare themselves for the workforce, and to let them know that WCSU will be with them through the time they get their first job.  He says West Conn recognizes how important it is to the student, their families and the region's economy to move students from the classroom into the workforce.

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