Fostering community in our college

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Community colleges are situated at an interesting place in society, where individuals from many different backgrounds can come and educate themselves.
At San Jose City College, this means people from a wide range of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. This level of inclusiveness can make it difficult to find a common ground, but the school should not just be a collection of individuals trying to accomplish their own ends before abandoning the school for greener pastures.
There are some simple and effective ways to increase the sense of community among faculty, administrators, staff and students.
Streamlining communication
It is difficult for students to find ways to get involved on campus because there is no central source of reference for campus events. Our school website has a calendar, but it is sorely lacking and hardly informative.
It would benefit the school to send out weekly email updates to inform students and faculty about what events are scheduled for that week, from gallery openings and movie screenings to construction notices and registration reminders.
Campus events, such as the Hall of Excellence, should also be promoted more heavily on campus to increase participation. This can be done in a variety of ways, including advertising in the school newspaper, handing out fliers, and circulating announcements in classes.
Increased inclusion and collaboration
Collaboration is the first step in creating innovative solutions to pressing issues faced by the community. This does not just include the governing bodies and committees, but also different programs on campus. Several programs have already begun this process, including the creative writing and art programs’ ekphrasis poetry readings.
Addressing student apathy
Community is not only fostered by leaders. A community rests in the hands and hearts of the people. Student involvement on campus is the most direct route to creating a community, and this can be seen in the clubs on campus. With 16 student organizations and a Club Day in the beginning of the semester, clubs are the breeding ground for campus culture.
However, student activism is required beyond clubs to create a more streamlined, collectivist environment. Open to students, organizations like the Associated Student Government and the many committee meetings still see a lack of student attendance and student activism, which is essential for accelerating change and growth.
When students are encouraged to contribute to the development of the campus and are passionate about the college community, they will take more pride in the school and their own work. This spirit would help establish a community at the campus.
Building a community, especially one composed of an incredibly diverse group of people, is a challenge, but these steps should help lead SJCC in that direction.