BY RICH REZLER
Communications Manager

Throughout April, two-year public institutions across the country celebrated Community College Month, an opportunity to tout the affordable educational opportunities they offer students seeking a direct path to the workforce or to transfer to a four-year institution.

It was President Ronald Reagan who first penned the Community College Month proclamation in 1986, commending the contributions the colleges make “to the strength, vitality, and prosperity of our Nation” by providing “educational opportunities at costs and locations accessible to all who are qualified.”

At Washtenaw Community College, Community College Month was celebrated not by the school putting forth myriad facts about how it benefits the Washtenaw County community, but by asking the community to make those statements.

WCC gathered feedback from community leaders and current students for a #WhyWCC social media campaign. Listed below are some favorite submissions, but check out the hashtag #WhyWCC on Facebook and Twitter for a complete list.

COMMUNITY LEADERS

Mary Stasiak, Ann Arbor Transportation Authority: “WCC creates opportunities and changes lives, making it one of the most important assets of our community.”

John Hilton, Ann Arbor Observer: “WCC teaches the skills we need to thrive in a fast-changing economy.”

Karl Couyoumjian, Overland Associates: “WCC is critical in leveling the playing field for those seeking higher education in Washtenaw County.”

Mary Hays, Bank of Ann Arbor: “It has a culture that welcomes those of all ages and backgrounds with diverse goals.”

Tonya Getzen, Northstar Bank: “It provides a valuable education for those students who may need to commute vs. live on campus. So important!”

John Deyampert, DeYampert & Hawkins PLLC: “WCC is an excellent resource for economic empowerment in Washtenaw and the state overall.”

Ida Abda, Ability to Engage: “WCC provides opportunities to learn and grow, even for those not enrolled in the college. What a great asset for the community!”

Michael Nisson, CNM Capital: “WCC is an important resource for a broad age spectrum in our community to allow people to further their education, pick up new marketable skills, or learn new hobbies.”

Bill Beardsley, Michigan Business Connection: “WCC offers an alternative to the traditional college student opportunity, suitable for those who know what they want to do, or who don’t. The affordability is critical to many.”

CURRENT STUDENTS

Michael Kozma: “WCC, unlike many large university programs, is not a place for those that have it made, but rather a place to make your life what you want it to be.”

Abigail Elwell: “WCC provides affordable avenues into the workforce with experienced (instructors). My teachers have helped me network and explore my options AND educate me. WCC needs to be here for all who want affordable, quality education.”

Nina Pu: “When I first came to Ann Arbor, I barely spoke English. At that age in my life, I did not know what to do with my future. The counselors at WCC were very supportive and helped me map out my academic plan from literally zero credit hours on my transcript. Today I have 60 credit hours and I am transferring to the University of Michigan in May. To me, WCC is a home away from home.”

Jordan Moizio: “One part of the WCC experience I want to acknowledge is the staff and faculty. As a part-time staff member and student here, I’ve had first-hand experience seeing how much ALL the staff and faculty care and want us to succeed. The teachers, counselors and administrators want to get to know you and do what’s best for you!”

Mohamed Said: “I have always struggled in school because I did not have a drawn path or ‘why’. I wandered through my meandering courses, simply following the wind. However, with the support, variety of courses, and warm environment WCC offered, I finally found a ‘why’ for my educational path.”

PHOTOS WITH ALPHA

What’s the old saying? A photo is worth at least a 140-character social media message? Some of our favorites from a photo shoot on a chilly, rainy day in front of the Student Center with our mascot, Alpha:

PROCLAMATION FROM ANN ARBOR MAYOR

To recognize Community College Month, Ann Arbor mayor Christopher Taylor issued a proclamation recognizing the outstanding contributions Washtenaw Community College makes to the community.

The proclamation noted that for more than 50 years, WCC has offered services that benefit Ann Arbor and greater Washtenaw community, including: training for job seekers and retraining for those already employed; more than 130 transfer agreements with four-year colleges and universities; more than 135 programs that can culminate in 55 associate degrees or 83 different certificates; GED preparation courses for adults seeking their high school diploma; customized training for local companies; scholarships grants and other sources of assistance for students who need financial aid to complete their education; and free classes for residents over the age of 65.

The proclamation also recognized the college’s estimated overall economic impact of $373.4 million.

WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca presented the proclamation to the WCC Board of Trustees at its monthly meeting on April 25. The text of the proclamation in its entirety:

PROCLAMATION

Honoring the value of Washtenaw Community During National Community College Month

April 2017

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan, in 1986, penned the first National Community College Month proclamation, commending the enormous contributions two-year colleges make “to the strength, vitality, and prosperity of our Nation” by providing “educational opportunities at costs and locations accessible to all who are qualified”; and

WHEREAS, More than 12 million students are today enrolled in credit and non-credit programs at 1,108 affordable and accessible community colleges; including more than 12,000 students at Washtenaw Community College, which offers members of this community more than 137 programs of study that can culminate in 55 different associate degrees or 82 different certificates; and

WHEREAS, Washtenaw Community College is helping to make Ann Arbor the epicenter for automated and connected vehicles by establishing an Advanced Transportation Center that will train the workforce of the future, and help fill the 11,000 jobs currently available in Michigan’s advanced transportation sector; and

WHEREAS, For more than 50 years, Washtenaw Community College has offered services that benefit our entire community, including: training for job seekers and retraining for those already employed; courses that transfer to more than 39 colleges and universities; GED preparation courses for adults seeking their high school diploma; reading and math support; customized training for local companies, an important contribution to the local economy; scholarships, grants and other sources of assistance for students who need financial aid to complete their education; support services that help students stay in school; and free classes for city residents over the age of 65; and

WHEREAS, Washtenaw Community College has an estimated overall economic impact of $373.4 million on our city and county.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Christopher Taylor, Mayor of Ann Arbor, Michigan, do hereby proclaim April 25, 2017 the day on which we celebrate Washtenaw Community College, and urge all citizens to recognize and appreciate the outstanding contributions to our community made by this extraordinary institution.