by Francesca Blasi, staff writer
Do you feel lost, isolated, and disconnected from your fellow students? Do you find yourself showing up to school, only to wander aimlessly as you make your way from one class to the next, not entirely sure of anything else going on around you?
Perhaps you have even turned to the website or asked around campus in search of more information on clubs available to join or upcoming events to attend, only to be disappointed by a lack of direct answers.
If this has been your experience as a student at this college, it may or may not surprise you to learn that you are not alone. Several students report feeling disconnected, frustrated, and generally uninformed about what, if any, services exist to create a sense of genuine connection and put the “unity” in this community college.
PPSC student of over two year, Emiko Fredo said, “The only connection I feel with other students is that we’re all going to this school or we’re in the same class. There isn’t much beyond that.”
While the students interviewed shared many points of common ground regarding their concerns, a couple of key issues were consistently mentioned: A lack of resources being provided or advertised for all students to be aware of, feeling left to their own devices to facilitate a sense of connection with other students, a shortage of support being provided to staff so they can provide support to students, and the need for more consistent information sharing around the campus through flyers, posters, word-of-mouth, or even, as Fredo said, “a single place where all event and social information can be found online that students know about.”
“One of the challenges with informing students is the rotating student body we have. Most students are only here for a couple of years, and so we have to retrain people to know that different resources and events exist,” said Sarah McMahon, journalism professor.
“I’d love for students to know that our student newspaper tries to cover these issues. And that many people across the college are working to solve this perennial problem,” McMahon said, “The last thing we want is for our students to feel disconnected.”
As a first-time college student, Gisselle Warner has a newer perspective, but feels a similar lack of communication from the school. In fact, she describes what many new students have likely felt when first coming to this campus with very limited information:
“There’s the newspaper in the stalls for the bathroom (Stall Street Journal), but how long are we actually in those stalls? If we do not pass by the Learning Commons or the library, we don’t see anything, and nobody’s passing out flyers. I think it’s very poor, how they are sharing information about things that could be important to everyone – like the food pantry! I think everyone should know about it. Even chances for people to make friends, free classes, or things that can help our community are important, and we don’t see those,” she said.
When asked how she managed to find out about the Community Table, which is the name of the food pantry at the Centennial Campus, Warner said that she had simply stumbled upon it by chance. “I think it really helps people out,” she stated, emphasizing the importance of this information being available to all students.
In wholehearted agreement with its importance is Kat Atherton, a student who has been attending classes part-time for about three years now. Atherton’s experience with the Community Table was – similarly to Warner’s – a happy accident.
“My blood sugar was dipping really low, and I was getting very shaky. I have classes from noon to five, so I walked in there and was like, ‘I forgot to bring snacks today. Do you have something I could eat?’”
She says that all she had to do was provide her name and student number to gain access to the food, which is provided by a local food bank. “That is information that people deserve to have.” Atherton stated. Despite coming to this campus and even walking past the food pantry for several years, she says that this semester is the first time she became aware of what it was, and that any student could participate.
“Information is available, often through email and Student Life. But, if students don’t check their emails, the information is lost,” McMahon said. “We’d love to find better ways to get the word out about goings on around the college. Because the truth is, there’s a lot happening,” she said.
On the subject of student connection, Kat also endorsed a cause that is close to her own heart: Global Village – a twice-weekly, in-person roundtable which empowers students to actively participate in discussions regarding a wide variety of topics.
She said, “I firmly believe that there is a level of connection and understanding that you cannot get online. You have to have face-to-face connection. That’s part of the reason that I really love Global Village.”
According to their page on the PPSC website, “While the topic and theme varies, each week we seek to: explore the concept of global community; discuss current global and cultural topics; build a student network of shared values and understanding at PPSC; and gain understanding, tolerance, and appreciation.”
Kat says all students have to do in order to participate in the discussion is show up.
Global Village meeting locations and times:
- Centennial campus: The Grove / Wednesdays 12:30-1:30
- Rampart Range campus:Atrium / Tuesdays 11:30-12:30
Community Table Walk-in Food Pantry:
- Location: Centennial Campus Room A-312
- Summer Hours: Monday – Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Phone: (719) 502-3185
- Email: PPCCCommunityTable@pikespeak.edu