CVTC open house Menomonie students

A kid goat nibbles on the fingers of Kaylee Sutliff, a CVTC Marketing program alumnus and current UW-Stout student living in Menomonie, at the CVTC West Campus Open House Thursday, April 25. Sutliff came the event with friend Michael Schellfeffer, left, a current CVTC student from Menomonie.

The Carolfi family of Wisconsin Rapids was focused on what they wanted to see when they entered Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Energy Education Center during the West Campus Open House Thursday, April 25.

“We brought Michael to see the Gas Utility program,” said Berni Carolfi, the mother of Michael, who finished high school early and was anxious to start on something new.

A new program at CVTC, Gas Utility Construction & Service starts in June, and was one of over 20 programs featured at the open house, which included both the Energy Education and Emergency Service Education centers. There were many fun activities for families, such as a chance to pet baby animals in the agriculture area, learning to climb a power pole in the Electric Power Distribution area, and watching a police K-9 unit do a mock drug search of a vehicle outside the Emergency Services Education Center.

But many families came to explore the programs as well. Gas Utility instructor RC Jensen was delighted to meet Michael Carolfi, who decided to enroll in the program.

“It seemed like a good option for me,” Michael said. “It will be good to be working outside.”

Berni Carolfi said the program is a natural fit for Michael, since his father, Dave, is a gas utility worker for We Energy in eastern Wisconsin. “Michael was kind of figuring out what he wanted to do, but didn’t want to work inside in a factory,” she said. “This gives him a chance to learn and work outside.”

Janine Quinn of Trego brought her daughter, Amarah, to the event, and took home a Black Hills spruce tree offered for free by CVTC’s Horticulture Club as part of its Arbor Day observance and CVTC’s Tree Campus USA designation. Amarah, a student at Spooner High School, said she is considering enrolling at CVTC and is particularly interested in horticulture.

“I took a lot of agriculture classes at school and had horticulture last semester and liked it,” she said.

At the Emergency Service Education Center, Faith Ranft and Joseph Bauer of Durand took a look inside the Eau Claire County SWAT team’s armored response vehicle and watched a K-9 unit demonstration. While Bauer is considering enrolling in an Information Technology program at CVTC, Ranft is already set to enter CVTC’s Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement program in the fall.

“I’ve had good role models all my life, including the police officer at my school,” Ranft said. “I heard about what they actually do and decided I want to do that. I want to help people, especially kids.”

But some of the major attractions were the baby chicks, kid goats and young calf in the ag area, where there was also a heavy equipment operations simulator. And the students in the Air Conditioning, Heating and Ventilation lab served up ice cream cones from the soft serve machine that they normally use to troubleshoot problems with such units.

The West Campus Open House was the third event this year in which CVTC opened its facilities for the public, with the Spring Open House held at the Business Education Center and the Manufacturing Show at the Gateway Campus both held in March.

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