October 2010

Serving the Community is Key Mission for Community Colleges

Colleges and universities serve a wide variety of audiences, with students typically the top priority.  Many higher education institutions also serve parents, alumni, businesses, legislators and others to maintain the support and the visibility needed to ultimately benefit students.  Serving the community as a whole, however, is a uniquely central mission of community colleges.

This service manifests itself in numerous ways. Community colleges respond to changing workforce trends and community needs.  The burgeoning “green collar” economy is being fueled by community college graduates trained in the latest technological advances.  When catastrophic events happen, our world changes.  You’ll find that community colleges respond with programs and training to facilitate oil spill clean-ups, homeland security enhancements — or whatever is needed by their communities at that particular moment.

At Waubonsee Community College, we demonstrate our commitment to the community in tangible ways every day.  When the economy took a downturn, we responded with our Brighter Futures initiative to help the unemployed and underemployed in our area find the resources they need to succeed.  We’re collaborating with several local partners on a health care career event in Sandwich at Valley West Medical Office Building and on a résumé review and job interview event at the Quad County Urban League in Aurora.  More information on these free events, and other Brighter Futures activities, can be found here.

Another way Waubonsee serves local residents is to provide educational offerings that are accessible to all types of students. For example, evening, weekend, and online courses are available for working students and those with hectic family schedules. 

Another way the college ensures accessibility is by operating campuses that are located across our 600-square-mile college district.  The college has a network of permanent campuses that are located in Sugar Grove, downtown Aurora and on the campus of the Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora.  Our network grows this November as Waubonsee opens the door to opportunity further west with the new Plano Campus

Conveniently located off of Route 34 in Plano, the Plano Campus enables students to start and finish a transfer associate degree entirely at this campus. Community members can also access a wide variety of professional development, community education and adult education programs, including GED and English as a second language. Located adjacent to Plano’s Lakewood Springs neighborhood, many students can easily walk or bike to class.

I invite our community to help us celebrate the grand opening of our new Plano Campus by attending the formal ceremony from 2-4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12 or joining us for a community open house from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13.

Expanded educational opportunities will continue.  In June 2011, Waubonsee will open our new downtown Aurora Campus.  At this beautiful 132,000-square-foot new facility on River Street, between Downer Place and Galena Boulevard, students can also earn associate degrees in a wide variety of programs.  Being in the heart of the downtown, in Illinois’ second-largest city, Waubonsee can positively impact even more lives than we do now.

The best way community colleges benefit their communities is through their students and alumni.  Waubonsee graduates fill critical roles in our cities and villages, businesses, industries, schools, and social service and health care organizations.  Our alumni keep us safe, keep us healthy, and keep the economy growing.  That is the true measure of the community service we provide.