This archived article was written by: Mike Overson
CEU’s San Juan campus is not only set in beautiful surroundings, but the architecture is a must see for anyone who enjoys what is frequently described as Southwest design. Warm neutral colors coat the buildings, which enhances the attempt to fade into the landscape, a task that is achieved rather well.
First entering Blanding, Utah, the most noticeable difference between a small city and Blanding is the lack of traffic. With only one traffic light, Blanding is still developing and growing. Drainage seems to be a problem there because the majority of streets have steep gutters in what seems to be a solution to flooding.
If it is anything like Price, fierce rain storms can dump a lot of rain which runs down streets before being soaked up by the desert. The landscape is dry as well as picturesque. Mountains in the distance leave much to the imagination when pondering what may be at the bottom of them.
Karolyn Romero, student government advisor, was in the first graduating class in 1977. After CEU she took classes from BYU and Utah State before graduating from Northern Arizona University.
With diploma in hand, Romero returned to Blanding 23 years ago. Interestingly enough, her daughter, CEU staff member Rochelle Badback, attended that campus while taking cosmetology courses.
Every year Romero has a Valentine’s Week schedule to attract students to events and create something fun to do. On Monday of this year student government delivered balloons and flowers to senior citizens. Tuesday offered a sexual responsibility workshop to go along with packets of information aimed at keeping students safe. Wednesday packed a forum and dating game into the afternoon. Thursday was devoted to delivering candy in an effort to raise money for student government. Friday was hopping as a semi-formal dance was held.
Amanda Palmer, who recently changed jobs from admissions to office cashier, was nice enough to stop and talk to us. Her husband is the mortician in town and that is really the only reason why she stayed.
San Juan has about 400 enrolled students. Dormitories which can house 80 people are not filled. Again, the small-town feel is prevalent but that feeling is kind of nice. One thing that is noticeable is that while people are friendly, they don’t seem to be open when meeting new people.
San Juan offers associate degrees in arts and sciences, as well as professional and applied technology education.
Debra Imel and Tami Fuller are both from out of area and going into the nursing program. Imel has been a respiratory therapist for 28 years, is pursuing her RN certification due to the lack of jobs in her specialty. Imel has moved around a lot but says her home is Indiana. Her motives for moving here were her daughter and grandchildren. Now that Imel is alone here, the RN degree looks promising because of the availability of jobs anywhere in the country with it.
Fuller works as a nurse’s aide and, for awhile, she worked for a trucking company. The main motivating factor for Fuller to be here is the opportunity to take these courses. I learned that you have to take life’s opportunities before they pass you by. Before she lived in Blanding, she resided in Moab, even though USU had an extension there, she figured it would be best to not transfer classes back and forth from one school to another.
These short interactions between complete strangers only gave me a small glimpse into what life is like in Blanding. While the small town feel is nice, it is not right for everyone. Knowing this, I recommend that anyone looking to move into a
smaller area take a close look at what they are getting into.
The town is inviting and the people seem nice enough, giving the San Juan campus a good reputation. Even if you aren’t looking for a place to move, Blanding is a good place to visit and experience. Price may be small, but this place makes even it look like a metropolis. If ever my advice is taken then take this, visit Blanding enjoy it and stop in Moab on your way back.