Eric Fels had early exposure to what Ripon College’s small campus could offer him. During the summer between his junior and senior years of high school, he was able to explore the Ripon campus while a “citizen” at the annual Badger Boys State, held each year for the past 75 years on the Ripon College campus. He was able to live in a residence hall and get a feel for the campus.
Also, his older sister, Amy, who will be a senior at Ripon in the fall, gave him a personal connection to the advantages of attending Ripon College. Amy, too, has been a recipient of the Wisconsin Grant. Eric decided to attend Ripon College after he toured the campus and met with Professor Mary Avery, now a retired professor of business management. Even before making his college choice, Eric experienced first-hand the personal attention from top faculty.
“I love the feel of the campus, its location in the heart of a small, closeknit community, and the personal relationships the small class sizes offer,” Eric says.
Eric will be a sophomore at Ripon this fall. He is extremely appreciative of the Wisconsin Grant that he received, which has made it easier for him and his family to pay for his education. “With there being less of a financial burden,” he says, “I am able to focus on my studies and extracurricular activities without having to worry about working a million jobs to help pay for my tuition.”
Extracurricular activities have been an important aspect of the college experience for Eric. He is a member of several organizations, including Ducks Unlimited, a group that aims to restore and conserve wetlands and other waterfowl habitats; and the campus chapter of Love Your Melon, a group that supports children affected by cancer. He also helps out at events sponsored by EGOR, the Environmental Group of Ripon.
“These groups have forced me to become better at time management as I have to balance homework and jobs around meetings and events,” Eric says. “They also have allowed me to make connections with other students, as well as faculty and staff, making Ripon feel even friendlier than it already did.” His time management skills clearly paid off as he was named to the Ripon College Dean’s List for both the fall and spring semesters during the 2015-2016 academic year.
Eric, who is a native of Hubertus, Wisconsin, plans to declare a sports management major and economics minor this fall. “My ultimate goal after college is to wind up in the front office of the Green Bay Packers organization, but plans are still in the works,” he says. His most immediate aim is to start off working at a smaller sports organization to gain knowledge and experience, and then work his way up from there.
That goal may not be so far out of reach. Two Ripon College alumni/ae are working in the Packers front office now. Amanda Breitenfeldt Wery ’06 is client services coordinator for the Packers, and Craig Benzel ’86 is the Packers’ vice president of sales and business development.