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10 Inspiring Community College Responses to COVID-19

I’m from Pittsburgh. And, like most Pittsburghers, I have a special place in my heart for Fred Rogers, who has taught all of us how to approach the world with unrelenting kindness. A man that reminds us that when things are hard to “look for the helpers”, which is something that I’ve reflected heavily on these past few weeks. In my 15 year career, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so much helping, and I’d encourage all of us to take a pause this week to look for the helpers, because I guarantee it will make your day, AND you’ll be inspired. Here are a few of my favorite moments from the week 🙂

Dr. DeRionne Pollard, Montgomery College President, challenged her son to a pushup contest, and won.

Ivy Tech Community College students creating masks for healthcare workers using 3D printing.

Dr. Lori Berquam, Interim President of Mesa Community College, takes us on a walk and reminds us to stay hydrated, be kind to ourselves, and gives an A+ pep talk.

Santa Monica College retweeting Snoop Dogg’s reminder to practice good hand hygiene is the kind of content I’m living for right now.

Westmoreland County Community College’s remote Spirit Week, complete with a pajama party, shows us we can stay connected if we make time for it!

Southwestern Community College’s thoughtfulness in creating wifi access points for students who might not have reliable connections otherwise. 

California’s Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis reminds us  that 7 out of 10 of California’s nurses, and 8 out of 10 police officers, firefighters and EMTs are trained at a California community college.

The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges continues to celebrate birthdays, complete with dog gifs, without missing a beat.

Northeast Community College’s recognition that #ZoomPets are the glue holding remote life together. I counted 11 pets in this class!

Mott Community College delivers meals to their students as part of their Mott Eats program.

For every one of these helpers there are a hundred more that are out there. Are your students helping out during this time? If so we’d love to spread the love with their stories. In that same vein, our four-year partners are also offering students scholarships for volunteer work, leadership, and community impact — please reach out to us to talk about how your students can get involved!

As always, we are so inspired by and thankful for the work you do.

Tara Zirkel, Ed.D, is Senior Manager for Community College Partnerships Manager for RaiseMe. Tara has over a decade of student affairs experience in community college settings, including as the Dean of Distance Education and Education Centers at Westmoreland County Community College and as the Director of Admissions, Interim Dean of Students, Adjunct Faculty, and Interim Associate Academic Dean at the Community College of Allegheny County. She holds a doctorate of education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she researched enrollment habits of community college students.

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