Editorial: Missing the message

Students deserve information system that actually informs

By Editorial Board

The mission statement for any upstanding institute of higher learning should be to provide the greatest opportunity for student success, and at Contra Costa College every endeavor seems to be cultivated to suit that purpose.

However, far too often, hard work and administrative planning falls short of its intended outcome and the services slated to assist students in need of support are underused or completely overlooked.

The disconnect between students and the services crafted to offer them support has been cavernous and the problem shows no sign of improving any time soon.

This past Wednesday, over 30 Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) met with CCC students in Campus Center Plaza to offer on-the-spot college acceptance, pathways to have admittance fees waived and to offer scholarships to students interested in the HBCU experience.

Despite the opportunities that were made available, many students had no idea the event was even happening.

This isn’t an isolated incident or a reflection on the counselors who organized the event; there is a constant logjam of information that fails to make its way to students.

This campus offers a wealth of services to combat societal ills and educational constraints but what good do they do if nobody knows they exist?

Something has to change.

Few students know there is a free breakfast program on campus or that the $20 calculator in the Bookstore ($12 at Target) can be borrowed for the semester, free of charge through the book and calculator loan program.

Many of the programs that offer free tools to navigate college, live and eventually die on the campus website contracosta.edu.

What would have been the turnout for the HBCU event if a text blast was sent to students outlining the numerous opportunities that were made available?

Clearly, word of mouth and flyers posted around campus are not enough.

Last Monday, a campuswide text was sent to students warning of hazardous waste removal from the boiler room in the PAC. Most students don’t even know where that is.

Technology to effectively get out information exists — it’s just not being used properly.

No text was sent urging students to be alert when parking their cars following a car theft near the Bus Transfer Center Jan. 30.

Many administrators work tirelessly to fill the service void some students, who come from marginalized communities, face — only to have those events sparsely attended.

It’s a breeding ground for administrative apathy and gives the impression that students aren’t interested in on-campus activities.

But students are more than willing to attend events. In fact when word does get out, workshops, forums and the monthly holiday celebrations are robust.

This was evident at last semester’s “Southern Origins: Classical African Civilizations” presentation, where students lined the stairways of GE-225 filling the room to beyond capacity.

Using the text system to offer reminders to students on campus of important events, like the approaching March 20 Job Fair, is not difficult.

To the contrary, it’s the easiest way to ensure students receive information and a text is infinitely more reliable than communicating InSite email.