BOZEMAN- With homecoming for the bobcats upon us, we're taking a look at the university that provides so much life to the Bozeman area, Montana State University.
“The moment I stepped on campus I knew it was for me,” Ryan Perius an engineering student said.
Perius comes to Bozeman from Alaska, but like so many bobcats before him, the area and lifestyle of Montana called out to him. He doesn't mind the snow at all and says the community makes it so welcoming he may make a life in Bozeman after college.
“I definitely don’t see myself leaving,” Perius said.
Perius fell in love with his school and his new town and he is not alone, enrollment at the university shows over 16,766 students in rolled this fall and that same data shows an increase in graduation rates from 19% to 29%.
“I think my freshman year we were the biggest class,” Perius said “I think it’s just getting bigger and bigger every year, you can just see it in the amount of construction around campus.”
But as the university continues to grow and expand, growing pains show themself. Students say finding parking after 8 a.m. is almost impossible and real estate in the library for studying can be hard to find, but students don’t see that as an issue.
“You can just tell that we’re getting bigger and bigger every year and I like it,” Perius said, “You meet new kids, new friends it really fits, it gels.”
Guidance counselors at Bozeman High School say from their perspective, there is a desire from local students to attend the school.
“Students come to me and say that they want to attend MSU,” Lauren Covington the College & Career Center Coordinator at Bozeman High School said.
Right now, of the 16,000 currently enrolled 9,000 of those students coming from the State of Montana. With a $25 million renovation being done to Romney Hall and new dorms and building going up each year the school is working to grow with the influx and desire students have to call Bozeman home.
“There are a lot of incentives financial incentives for Montanans to stay in Montana and attend Montana schools- Montana schools want to keep Montana students,” Covington said.
Students who grew up in Bozeman grow up going to games and the university is a major piece of their life according to Covington. So its sort of becoming the next step in the educational progression.
For Perius it was the engineering program that caught his eye along with the proximity to outdoor activities.
“I love the campus and I just love the city of Bozeman, definitely was the right choice for me,” Perius said.
The Homecoming game will kick off this Saturday at 2 p.m.