Open Door: The President’s Blog

I have had an amazing couple of weeks! I attended (in-person!) our first Drive-Thru Community Market on Wednesday, September 2. Chad and Raul, and our District’s public safety team, did an incredible job preparing (with our sponsor Second Harvest) to offer a well-managed and expertly orchestrated distribution on our campus. Chancellor Claire and several members of the President’s team, alongside a number of volunteers, participated in the distribution of food to 250 families. As word gets out, I imagine this service will explode as there are many in our community, including students, in need.

I attended Puente’s Noche de Familia – where students and their families joined in a roundtable conversation. We met students, their parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends. The Puente Learning Community links students, a counselor, an English instructor, and community mentors in an effort to increase the number of educationally under-served students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities. These students are in great and supportive hands with Lucia and Dino.

I also attended the Intercultural Center launch presentation. The Center offers a masterful and diverse menu of spaces for students and employees to gather and center around a number of topics. The vision of the Center is to create and maintain safe spaces for restorative self-reflection, broadening critical consciousness, and developing solidarity. The Center’s mission is  to celebrate our intersectional identities, challenge oppressive ideologies, and overcome our linked struggles through embracing vulnerability, channeling indignation, and uplifting marginalized communities. In this space, we strive to eliminate white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and dehumanizing capitalist practices. This is an impressive mission! The passion of this team – Allen, Martin, and Dr. Johnson – shines through in everything they do.

I also attended a Connecting Point – which offers space for grounding and connection – a place where it’s okay to not be okay. We opened with a beautiful meditation, and were able to share our personal challenges. I felt a lot less stressed after this meeting, and it was good for my soul. I thank Michelle and Perry for this experience. These are ongoing twice a month. Register online for the next one! Reach out to Michelle if you need more information: batistam@smccd.edu

I conducted the first ever President’s Roundtable, that invites informal dialogue on concerns and challenges we are facing as a campus community. President’s Cabinet joins our constituent groups monthly – students, classified professionals, and faculty – for an open conversation. We heard from our student leaders how difficult it is to be in an online environment without time for casual interaction and how students are unable to get to know their peers. The students highlighted a number of events being offered through the Center for Student Life that are so meaningful and engaging, and will improve our students’ feelings of isolation. Look for upcoming events that include a particularly poignant space to honor loved ones and create an offering (Ofrenda) for those who have recently passed.

I hope you are able to stay engaged and healthy amid the smoke and fire, the pandemic, and continued isolation (and apparently the ants! What’s next?) Let’s continue to chase that ever elusive work/life balance.

In support of all of you,

Melissa

Dr. Melissa Moreno
President

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