Name: Eric Fels
Course of Study: Sports management major, economics minor
Why did you choose Ripon College?
The homey feel of Ripon College, personal connections with faculty and staff, beauty of the campus, location in regards to home, courses and majors offered, and my sister Amy (Class of 2017) attending here all played major roles in why I chose Ripon.
How has financial aid impacted your college experience?
Financial aid has eased the stress of paying for college, allowing me to focus on my academics and involvement in clubs and extracurricular activities, as I don’t have to work a million jobs to pay for tuition (although I do have two on-campus jobs as a tutor and a circulation clerk at Lane Library).
Did receiving financial aid impact your decision to attend Ripon College?
Certainly. The scholarship I received from the college and others I received from outside parties, as well as government grants and loans, made it possible for me to attend Ripon, which was really my first and only choice for school.
What will a college degree mean to you?
Beyond making myself more marketable to future employers, I think a college degree will give me a sense of accomplishment and confidence as I go into the real world, knowing I am a more educated and well-rounded individual now than I was before I entered college. This confidence will help when I face problems in work and personal life, as I can draw upon my experiences at knowledge I gained from going to college to help solve them.
Have you learned something during college you didn’t expect?
This may be unique to Ripon College, but I did not expect a college campus to be such a close-knit, caring community. Everywhere you go on campus, there is someone saying hello and smiling, asking how you are. People are always offering to help you not just to further your education but to prepare you for the real world and get you into whatever field you want to enter as a career. They are doing it on a personal level, whether it be a fellow student or a faculty or staff member. There is tremendous personalized support for whatever it is you want to accomplish.
What are your plans after graduation?
I’m planning to gain experience working for professional sports organizations (hoping to do some internships with them while still a student here), eventually working my way up to a position in the player personnel or marketing departments with a major pro sports team like the Milwaukee Bucks or Green Bay Packers.
An article about Eric was recently featured in the Wisconsin Achievers publication:
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 is a sophomore at Ripon. 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.