NSC Clubs Interview with Megan Davies

Here at North Seattle College, there are many ways to get involved with the campus community. For example, any student can join a club or start their own. I have heard several students express their great club ideas, but they are not sure how to get clubs started. The process for creating a club is much simpler than most students think. On August 6th, I sat down with Megan Davies, the 2018-2019 Club Council coordinator, to clarify this process and reveal the positive outcomes of participating in club activities.

Afsara: How many clubs are there currently?

Megan: There are no clubs during the summer, but the last academic year ended with about 38 clubs. 

Afsara: Where can students find information for club meeting times? 

Megan: On the Student Leadership website, there is a page for clubs, which has a table including information for club names, club emails, club leaders, meeting times, and locations. Physically, there is also the student clubs board in the Student Leadership office with club meeting times listed. At any point, you can also ask one of the Club Council members in the office for a roster of student clubs. 

Afsara: What is the process for joining an existing club?

Megan: If you want to be a club member, all you have to do is show up to a meeting. Certain clubs keep track of their members with a sign in sheet for every single meeting, but some are more relaxed. For example, the Gaming Club has a lot more drop in students who come in for one or two meetings, depending on the games they’re playing. Since all clubs are open to any student at North Seattle College, you can just walk in to any club. 

Afsara: What is the process for starting a new club?

Megan: We now have dual online and in person forms. The club activation form is on the Student Leadership website and in the Student Leadership office. It is one sheet, front and back, and asks for things such as the club’s purpose and goals. It also asks for basic information such as your name, the advisor’s name, your email, and what you want the club’s public email to be. Some people choose to make their personal email public, but others create a public email. Another requirement is getting 10 signatures from students in support of the club. A lot of people think that the 10 signatures have to be by people that want to join the club, but they actually just need to be people who are in support of forming the club on campus. For example, if you’re signing in support of an “I Hate Plants” club, you don’t have to hate plants! You can just be curious about where they’re coming from. 

Afsara: What is an example of a past club event that was successful?

Megan: The Robotics club has had a lot of really cool, successful events. They have had Skype interviews with NASA engineers and the people in the control room for rocket takeoffs. They have done rocket workshops where they have gotten people their level one certifications. I also know that movie nights are always a hit. LGBTQ+ had a successful movie night showing Love, Simon and the Chemistry club has also had a good movie night turnout. 

Afsara: What in particular about those events do you think made them so successful? 

Megan: For movies, I think that it’s really easy for people to come to a movie night because you don’t have to put yourself out there as much. It’s not like you have to introduce yourself and talk to all of the members. You’re just sitting with a group of people who also want to enjoy the movie, so it’s a really easy way to get out there without too much social interaction. Since the rocketry program here is so good, I think that if people are even just a little bit interested, they are are more inclined to go to it because of their past success. They also have own little private shop area. 

Afsara: Those events seem like a great way to meet more people. 

Megan: Yes, exactly. I always recommend them. 

Afsara: Can you recall a time when a specific club made a positive impact on campus? 

Megan: What comes to mind the most is Spring Fair 2018 when the Student Leadership Events Board ran out of their budget. Each club has a budget of $500 per year so we then turned to the clubs and asked, “Do you want to sponsor some things at this event?” The Flat Earth club sponsored the bouncy house, if I recall correctly, and another sponsored the snowcones. I believe LGBTQ+ donated the remainder of their budget as well. Any club that didn’t use their budget sponsored these cool activities and made them possible. 

Afsara: Can you think of any other information about clubs that would be good to know?

Megan: I think that it’s just really hard getting into the world of clubs if you’re not socially inclined. Before joining Student Leadership, I never would have put myself out there to join a club. After working with clubs and seeing how beneficial they are and how much of a community they’ve become with people who started off as strangers, I know how impactful they can be. 

Afsara Sadiya 

2018-2019 Student Cabinet Coordinator

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Why Community College?

When I first made the choice to attend North Seattle College, I was excited and eager to begin my college experience. It never occurred to me that I would encounter judgement because I was starting off at a community college. While everyone in high school announced their college decisions, I could pick up on subtle looks of disapproval from students going off to universities. I would also occasionally hear the question: “Why would you go to community college?” Many people could not grasp why a straight A student like me would choose this path. Soon enough, my enthusiasm to start this new chapter turned to doubt and uncertainty. Although I had been accepted to every university I applied to, I felt that the lower tuition cost at North was a smarter choice financially, and that smaller class sizes would better suit my learning style. This is why I made the decision to get an AA degree, and then transfer to a university later on to complete my English major.

Most people tend to look down on community college students, compared to those who traditionally attend a university after high school. There are a lot of universal stereotypes about students like us due to the majority of people having a one dimensional perspective and a lack of knowledge on the subject. These stereotypes include that employers favor applicants who attended a university, that community college students are only older students returning after a long period of time, that they are not intelligent enough to be accepted into a university, and that the lack of student life prevents students from being involved in their campus community (Chen 2018).

People tend to assume that employers are less likely to hire an applicant that has attended community college. However, employers are mainly looking to see if one earned a degree and has the required experience for the career they are pursuing. An applicant that has attended a university for all four years is no more qualified than one that has attended for two years, or has a professional certificate.

Although there may be a large number of older students at some community colleges, it is a misconception that this is the only type of student present. Older students who are local may have been the typical student years ago. However, there are currently many young students as well, such as those who are a part of the Running Start program and come from other countries, creating a mix of different identities. For example, North Seattle College had 435 Running Start students and 517 international students enrolled in Fall 2017.

In addition, one’s intelligence or skill level should not be determined solely on their decision to attend a community college, because these students have the same work ethic and desire to succeed as those who attend universities right away. In fact, a few of the successful people who attended community colleges include the founder of Disneyland Walt Disney (Metropolitan Junior College), CEO of Apple Inc. Steve Jobs (De Anza College), and Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks (Chabot Community College). According to the statistics from the UNLV Institutional Analysis and Planning, “community college students tend to earn a higher GPA than students who begin their academic careers at a four-year university” (Chen 2018). This reveals that community college students are perfectly capable of having academic success.

Lastly, even though community colleges do not have the Greek system to join sororities and fraternities, there are other ways in which students can meet new people and gain valuable experiences including volunteering, clubs, and programs such as student leadership. Then, they can still be a member of the Greek system after transferring to a university, if this is personally an important part of the college experience.

There are many advantages of community college that are not acknowledged often. These factors lead students to choose community college over a university because they better suit certain needs and enrich the overall college experience:

  • Lower tuition cost: The most prominent reason for attending community college is the lower expenses. Community colleges have an average cost of $4,000 annually, compared to about $30,000 – $100,000 for public universities. Living at home and paying less for tuition saves a drastic amount of money even when a student transfers to a university for two of the four years, because it reduces the amount of student loans and debt that students face.
  • Flexible schedule: Community colleges offer a lot more online and evening classes than universities, which makes college convenient for working students who have other responsibilities. This allows them to learn more efficiently by fitting their course load into their own busy schedules.
  • Smaller classes: Classes have about 20 – 30 students compared to lecture halls with hundreds of students in universities, which allows each student to receive more attention and assistance from their professors. This also allows the professors to learn about the needs of each student and be more aware of their specific learning styles (Mitchell 2015).
  • Professional certificates: Community colleges offer short-term and professional certificates. This is useful for those who are pursuing a future in fields such as technology and electronics and do not require a four-year degree for their desired career, allowing them to obtain a job sooner.
  • Transfer agreements: For most students, enrolling in a community college means that they are planning to transfer to a university. Almost all community colleges have transfer articulation agreements that guide students in what courses need to be completed for transferring to a specific university. By having universities in mind early on, meeting with advisors, and paying attention to the requirements, the process of transferring is not as difficult as one may think.

The benefits listed above demonstrate the many positives of attending a community college for a duration of one’s higher education experience. Instead of making quick assumptions about community college students and their abilities, people must look more closely at the rewards that come from it. Being a community college student does not make someone less than a traditional student in any way. This simply means that they are taking on a different approach that is more appropriate for their unique goals. By doing the right research and learning about the benefits, one may find that starting at a community college is ultimately a better choice in terms of the atmosphere, financial ease, and heightened attention.

Now that I have almost completed my AA degree, I have no feelings of doubt or regret at all. I am thankful for every educational experience I gained at North, the good and the challenging. These two years have allowed me to learn academic and personal skills that I will take with me to university and beyond, to use for the rest of my life.

Afsara Sadiya

Student Cabinet Coordinator

Sources:

https://www.communitycollegereview.com/blog/the-top-7-community-college-myths https://www.usnews.com/education/community-colleges/slideshows/10-reasons-to-attend-a-community-college?slide=7

NEW Equity and Welcome Center: An Interview with D’Andre Fisher

D’Andre Fisher, North’s Associate Vice President of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion may be new, but he is known to make sure his voice is heard on campus. Under his guidance, a new Equity and Welcome Center at NSC is in the works to open this year. Fisher said the need for an Equity and Welcome Center has been a priority of his since he began his job in July. I sat down with Fisher in his office to uncover more information about the new welcome center, the planning process, and his hopes for our community.

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I find my way through the labyrinth of administrative offices on the second floor of the College Center building, passing right by President Warren Brown himself. D’Andre noted on his first day (and has reiterated with the plans for the new Equity and Welcome Center) that he must be in the President’s line of sight everyday so that his work is known.

As I walk through the opening of the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity space, a yellow object is catches the corner of my eye. Sure enough, I turn to see D’Andre in his yellow hat. Bright yellow is also the background of the EDI signage that welcomes visitors into this space. Fisher is smiling and quickly assures me that he will see me in just a minute. Almost always do I encounter D’Andre on campus with a snazzy outfit and an inviting smile. He welcomes me into his office where I am free to sit anywhere. Tones of blue and grey are casted over the office through the windows that showcase Seattle’s infamous rain.

Acuña : What do you say is the purpose of having a new Equity Center, as opposed to our current one?

Fisher: So this is an Equity and Welcome Center, which would be the difference compared to what’s already established with the [current] equity center. So this one is geared towards really focusing on the welcoming of all, in having a sense of belonging. It’s going to be the focus, meaning that there are no binary restraints to this work, no gender restraints to this work, really being open, for all religions, all people, all backgrounds, all social statuses, and really focusing on how we make sure that every student, faculty, and staff member feels like North Seattle College is a place that they can call home, and have a sense of belonging.

Acuña : I received the plans for the welcoming center (which includes spaces for undocumented students, LGBTQ students, and prayer). Will these be the identities it will serve there and the rooms it will contain?

Fisher: Nothing is set in stone yet. We will take a year of really evaluating what the need is. We do know that the multicultural center will be there. We do know that the Gender Equity center will be in there. And from there we’re working with other groups to really self identify what will be in there. We do want to have some space for faculty members to be able to come and meet with students. We do want to have space for prayer and meditation to happen, so you know, there’s a lot of wants, but what it actually looks like, that’s not on me to determine, it’s on the campus and the community to determine.

Acuña : When did all this planning and envisioning of the space happen?

Fisher: I started thinking about this in July. It was literally one of the first things to think about. The president charged me to really come under his leadership to try to create a space where everyone feels a sense of belonging. Like I said, it’s going to be six months of just flushing down ideas, talking to key faculty members, key staff members, and key students. You know, more talking still needs to happen, so that’s why nothing is set in stone because I want to be very transparent. I don’t want anyone to feel like we’re moving on without hearing about different voices…so speaking with our veterans, student association, and you know, thinking about what we can do there. I just met last week with the new director of disability services about how we can partner and still always be partnering with international studies. I’m very excited about Ann taking on the new role, but I was really close in partnering with the former director Kathy Lee, so I wanna make sure we still have those components. And then of course, I meet with Student Leadership almost every other week I feel like! And I’m down there almost every other day! So I’m making sure that the student voice is heard.

Acuña : Would you say that working with everyone and listening to what this school has to offer is the best part about this process?

Fisher: Ab-so-lutely. Aw, you’re right! You hit it right on the head! It definitely is.

Acuña : Besides the planning, what are your hopes for this Equity and Welcome Center?

Fisher: My hopes are that within the matter of a year, the Equity and Welcome Center becomes a true hub for the college campus and the surrounding community, where there are multiple identities, multiple races, multiple religions, and multiple people from different backgrounds. And able bodies, everybody just hanging out, and really learning from each other. You know, this is a space where we can all learn from each other and ask questions…and be open to those questions! And you know, talk politics, but in a respectful manner, so if we can do it, man that would be amazing! I would really love to see that. And I know we have it here at North! So, I’m excited. And, working with the Art department in the Equity Center and seeing beautiful art done by our students. I’m getting excited now! It’s so tempting, you got me envisioning!

Acuña: What do you say to people that aren’t in support of the new Equity Center?

Fisher: To give us a chance. To give it a chance. We may not do everything according to the way that they see it should be done, and we may not do everything right the first time. But show us grace in this work because we all need grace in this equity, diversity, and inclusion work. And that’s going to be important. We all come at it at different levels. And we’re all not at the same level, so just as we need grace, and we’re showing grace, we want everyone to be the same way.

North Seattle College’s new Equity and Welcome Center plans to open on March 1.

Heidi Grace Acuña

Student Cabinet Member