The summer 2021 welcomes Utah State University’s Summer Citizens, celebrating a 45-year tradition on the Logan campus. The Summer Citizens is a retired population of people coming to Cache Valley from Arizona, Texas and California. From late May through early August, participants live in Logan to escape the extreme heat of their home locales.
Utah State University hosts the Summer Citizens and provides a complete package for those who participate, with housing, classes and access to campus amenities including the library and recreational fitness facilities. The year 2021 has 560 people registered, 160 of whom are first-timers. Participants can choose from more than 40 classes, ranging from topics that include history, art, business and science.
“Our Summer Citizens look forward to coming to Cache Valley every summer,” said Lisa Anderson, the Summer Citizens event coordinator. “They love the people, the beautiful campus, the mountains and historic downtown Logan.”
The Summer Citizens fill a void left by the main USU student body, which leaves for the summer. During their time in Cache Valley, participants not only spend time on campus, but also in downtown Logan. They enjoy productions by USU’s Caine Lyric Theatre, the Utah Festival Opera and the Tabernacle concerts, as well as eat and shop in the area.
“We love the vibrancy the Summer Citizens bring to Cache Valley each year,” said Julie Hollist Terrill, director of the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau. “Their presence brings along with it an enormous economic impact. They support local events, golf, have medical and dental procedures done here and some of them eat out every single meal the entire time they're here.”
What originally started in Rexburg, Idaho, has become a mainstay at USU’s campus since 1976. The program hasn’t changed since its inception and participants come back year after year because of the variety of experiences offered. Living in apartment complexes, just as USU students do, allows participants to make lifelong friends.
“The Summer Citizens program is the most extraordinary program I have ever encountered,” said one program participant. “There is nothing else like it in the United States.”
Although the program had to shut down for the year 2020 due to the global pandemic, participants were eager to return this summer. While the numbers are slightly down from 2019 enrollment of more than 850 participants, Anderson foresees participation increasing steadily in the next few years. She is thrilled so many have decided to join the program in 2021.
“They bring back a life and vitality to the campus traditionally missing in the summer,” Anderson said.