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No Tech U: College Without Technology

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No Tech U: College Without Technology

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No Tech U: College Without Technology

No Tech U: College Without Technology

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The first freshman class of Wyoming Catholic College finishes up exams this week. In what's been called "an audacious experiment," the college bans cell phones, TVs, and allows only limited access to the internet.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

So imagine a typical college freshman, if there is really such a thing. They are constantly on their MySpace page, a cell phone attached to one ear, an iPod in the other. At tiny Wyoming Catholic College, on the edge of the Wind River Mountain Range, things are - mm - pretty different. There are no cell phones and very limited access to the Internet or television.

It's all part of a classical liberal arts education that's bent on bettering body, mind and spirit. WCC, as it's called, has just wrapped up its first year in existence. Our guest now is Judianne Dolamata (ph). She was part of the inaugural freshman class, and she is on the line now with us to describe what that first year was like. Hi, Judianne. Thanks for being here.

Ms. JUDIANNE DOLAMATA (Student, Wyoming Catholic College): Hello.

MARTIN: So it sounds probably like a funny conversation to you, because now this has been your life for a year. But really, I sit back and try to remember what life was like before the cell phone and I think, gosh, how did I even make plans with people?

Ms. DOLAMATA: My friends at college, I just talk with them, like - yeah, we see each other every day.

MARTIN: You just make plans with them when you see them.

Ms. DOLAMATA: Yeah.

MARTIN: What if you're running late?

Ms. DOLAMATA: They wait for you.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: So, going to Wyoming Catholic College means you're pretty much - when you make this decision, you've made up your mind that you're going to have a different kind of education than you'd get at another university. Why did you choose this path?

Ms. DOLAMATA: I realized that I could get another education later on in my life, but for now, I just wanted a foundational education.

MARTIN: And when - it's described as a traditional liberal arts kind of education, but what does that mean in the WCC context?

Ms. DOLAMATA: Well, it's based a lot on traditional - like trivium, the three arts of rhetoric, logic, grammar, and then we have philosophy, and theology, and the great books, such as Plato, Aristotle and the such.

MARTIN: Old, dead people.

Ms. DOLAMATA: Yes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: There are other elements of an education at Wyoming Catholic College that are also more traditional, I guess, is the word that you would use to describe it. You studied Latin - immersion, right?

Ms. DOLAMATA: Mm hm.

MARTIN: Latin, as I understand it, is, you know...

Ms. DOLAMATA: A dead language?

MARTIN: A dead language, yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DOLAMATA: For one, it's the language of the Church, of course, but also some of the great books are written in it, and also, English is based a lot on Latin as well, and it can help your English vocabulary.

MARTIN: You have other friends, I imagine, from high school who chose to go to Montana State, I mean, other places, other colleges where they're having a much different experience. Do you all compare notes? Do you talk to them about your experience and they share theirs with you?

Ms. DOLAMATA: Sometimes, yeah, we talk. They are like, wow, it sounds pretty intense, but they're glad for me, they're happy for me, and they're having a good time, too.

MARTIN: What do you think you're getting out of that that other people aren't? What do you think you're getting out of your particular experience that others are missing, if they're on the campus where the rules are a little different, the culture's a little different?

Ms. DOLAMATA: Well, we have a smaller campus as well, besides the lack of technological communication, and it just helps the community. Like, everybody knows everybody. We talk a lot. We know everyone. We focus really well on our schoolwork. But we're also just getting a liberal education, just learning how to think for ourselves, like being able to read something, know what it's saying why it's saying it, and asking critical questions and that sort of thing.

MARTIN: Is there any part of you that thinks, gosh, I'm going to school in kind of a bubble?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DOLAMATA: Maybe, but it's a good bubble, and, like, this kind of bubble, I guess, prepares you for the world, I suppose.

MARTIN: How so? I mean, the world is so much focused on global telecommunications and this interconnectivity. How do you translate what you've experienced into the real word when you get out?

Ms. DOLAMATA: Mm, see, I don't think that our experience should be based on much technology, because some of the greatest minds thought without technology, and if you think about it, technology was made by reasonable people. So reasonable people can still figure out how to use them. So, it shouldn't be that difficult to get back into it.

MARTIN: What are you going to do when you get out of the college, Judianne?

Ms. DOLAMATA: I'm thinking of going into nursing, emergency room.

MARTIN: Emergency room nurse, wow. Judianne Dolamata, she was part of the inaugural freshman class - you just finished your finals?

Ms. DOLAMATA: Yes.

MARTIN: Congratulations on that, and she'll be returning to Wyoming Catholic College in the fall as a sophomore. Hey, Judianne. Thanks very much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Ms. DOLAMATA: Thank you.

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