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Country Roads: The Allure of a Rural Campus

About This Video

This video is part of a yearlong Chronicle visual series that highlights the challenges facing students from underrepresented and underserved communities. The series is part of the Different Voices of Student Success project, which is supported by the Ascendium Education Group.

The video was shot and edited by Carmen Mendoza, a senior web producer. Luna Laliberte, editorial-events coordinator, arranged the interviews and assisted in the video production. Erica Lusk, senior photo and media editor, directed the project.

West Virginia University is in Morgantown, which is known among students for its small-town feel, welcoming environment, and sense of community. “You can’t get lost in Morgantown. Everything leads right back to the downtown campus, or to the football stadium,” says Mikel Hager, a senior and exercise-physiology major.

Hager and other students find that WVU and Morgantown offer a safe place and supportive environment to learn and grow in a region that’s plagued by the opioid crisis and affected by mining’s environmental and economic challenges.

WVU’s affordability and opportunities are partly what attract students from inside and outside the state. “WVU is like the 13th grade for us because we have so many people from our high school come to the university,” notes Azeem Khan, a senior and political-science major. Noah Johnson, a Maryland resident and sophomore economics major, chose WVU for its e-sports program. “They recruited me to play e-sports here and kind of represent them,” he explains.

Meet these and other students in this short film to better understand why, as Hager says, this city “feels like home.”