April is a special month for everyone associated with community colleges; it is Community College Month.
By name and by definition, community colleges are key parts of communities. But the connection is much more than that. The connections are personal. Community colleges add great value to communities by giving residents the tools they need to advance professionally and personally. This is certainly true now more than ever.
At community colleges, students have the opportunity to serve in leadership roles in their home communities. Students like Armando Ferrer, Waubonsee’s student trustee, and the college’s student senate are key members of the college’s daily operations and ensure that the voice of the student body is heard. Alumni like Diana Iracheta have been recognized by the Illinois Community College Trustee Association for their academic achievements, professional accomplishments, and leadership in the community and their industry.
Our students succeed because of the community connections with the college. Each year the Waubonsee Community College Foundation awards hundreds of thousands of dollars of scholarships from funds that have been donated by members of our community. And Waubonsee brings financial resources to support the community. Waubonsee was recently awarded a grant from the Department of Education that will allow the college to develop a Latinx Resource Center at our Aurora Downtown Campus and develop even more ways to support our college and community Latinx population.
Community colleges also have partnerships with other colleges and universities to create pathways, like Waubonsee’s recent partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s nursing program, for students to complete bachelor’s degrees. And, our collaboration with West Aurora School District 129, East Aurora School District 131, Northern Illinois University, and The Community Foundation of the Fox Valley was recently awarded funding as part of Scaling Education Pathways in Illinois to create clear pathways for students to become teachers.
During this Community College Month, I encourage everyone who ever attended a community college to show their community college pride and include their community college on their LinkedIn profile and resume. Not only does it help tell the complete story of your academic journey; it shows your connection to your community. I always tell people that Waubonsee is more than college, it is community college. That is something we can all be proud of.