Information table at the first week of classes at Columbia College's Lake of the Ozarks location
Students at Columbia College-Lake of the Ozarks were welcomed with goodie bags at the first day of of the Fall ’21 semester

In March 2020, “normal” life came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For students, faculty and staff across Columbia College’s nationwide locations, the remainder of the 2019-20 school year was conducted virtually and students attended courses remotely.

The 2020-21 school year brought continued challenges, as students and staff continued to navigate the impact of the pandemic. Following a summer of mental and physical recuperation, the college community was eager to return to regular operations once again. Located in Osage Beach, Missouri, the Columbia College-Lake of the Ozarks location organized several exciting, in-person events and attractive giveaways to celebrate the Fall ’21 semester.

Behind leadership from location Director Ashley Allen-Brown, the festivities kicked off on Monday, August 30, the first official day of the 2021-22 academic year. The location was certainly busy throughout the day, beginning with a COVID vaccination clinic in collaboration with Lake Regional Hospital and Central Ozarks Medical Center.

Students from the Lake of the Ozarks location nursing program observed college Academic Advisor Chuck Jones receiving a booster vaccination. The ability to host an event like the vaccination clinic was not only valuable to the local Osage Beach community, but also offered a first-hand experience for students.

“As an alumna and the current clinical instructor supervisor for the nursing program, I was extremely excited for the return to in-seat learning experiences for our students,” said CC-Lake of the Ozarks Senior Clinical Instructor Lorri Steffen. “We take great pride in ensuring our students receive the best education available in our area. The enhancements we have made in our clinical lab afford an exceptional learning opportunity, preparing future registered nurses for an everchanging healthcare environment.”

The busy opening day of the Fall Semester concluded with a joint Chamber ribbon cutting facilitated by both the Camdenton and Lake Area Chambers of Commerce. More than 30 local leaders and chamber members were on-hand in front of the Lake of the Ozarks location’s main building to commemorate the occasion.

As the first week rolled on, exciting giveaways and goodie bags for students were distributed. The student swag bags consisted of Columbia College t-shirts, ball caps, stress balls, pens, pencils, pop sockets, travel straws and light snacks.

Followers of the location’s social media outlets were beneficiaries of the week’s biggest giveaway, as they had a chance to win a backpack stuffed with college apparel and classroom necessities. A random drawing awarded one lucky student the sought-after backpack, as Jesse Dreste even earned his own post on the college’s Facebook page.

“The first week of school was great,” said nursing student Tiffany Smith. “I was excited to see staff and students back in-person celebrating. You could feel a sense of pride for our college, especially during the chamber ribbon cutting. You could tell the college staff really loves their jobs and that the students were all happy to be back in class. It was definitely a great way to kick off the first week!”

The busy week wrapped up with an information table on-site with State Fair Community College location in Osage Beach. In July, Columbia College and SFCC announced a partnership to offer exclusive discounts to its employees, spouses and dependents.

Behind the influx of engaging events and giveaways for their students, both Brown and Associate Vice President for Columbia College Global – Civilian and Online Locations Dr. Nathan Miller are ecstatic about the direction of the Lake of the Ozarks location and have high hopes for the school year ahead.

“College is as much about the experience as it is about learning subject matter on the path toward the goal of obtaining a degree,” said Brown. “We provide quality curriculum taught by instructors who are working professionals in their fields, but kicking off the first week of the Fall Semester with a successful back-to-school drive, backpack giveaway, community vaccination clinic, ribbon cutting, and student swag bags reaffirms our commitment to a holistic student experience.”

 “Ashley Allen-Brown has brought an unmatched energy to our outreach in the area, and we look forward to additional collaboration between Columbia College and the Lake of the Ozarks community,” said Miller. “We’re also excited to get the 2021 academic year underway and by the efforts of the CC-Lake of the Ozarks team to help students in the area reach their educational goals.”

Columbia College - Lake of the Ozarks location meet at the first week of the Fall '21 semester for a COVID vaccination clinic
Students from Columbia College-Lake of the Ozarks location nursing program observed college Academic Advisor Chuck Jones receive a booster vaccination.