November provides a lovely transition in the fall semester to embrace the wonderful benefits of being connected to each other in our local community. As the temperatures drop and the leaves turn to marvelous autumn hues, the change in season also provides a rich opportunity to slow our own tempo, to pause, reflect, and be thankful for one another; thankful that community colleges bring many different people together for a common purpose: learning and empowerment.
This time of the year also makes me think about all the ways we can give back to each other and make a difference. At Waubonsee Community College, I am filled with gratitude for our students, faculty, and staff and the ways that our diverse community, experiences, and ways of thinking enrich our lives.
At community colleges, there are many things to be thankful for, including the significant and ever-increasing impact that our institutions have in our local communities. Community colleges enroll 41% of college students in the United States according to the American Association of Community Colleges Fast Facts 2021.
What are you thankful for? How can you show this gratitude? Giving thanks and sharing generously go hand and hand and can be expressed in many forms- by offering a listening ear, by pointing individuals to the resources they need to succeed, by sharing a small token of appreciation, or by sharing an experience together.
I wanted to highlight several of the many things I am grateful for at Waubonsee Community College:
- Brave first-generation college students who are the first in their families to attend college, opening new doors of opportunities for their lives and their future generation
- Faculty who share their expertise, design curriculum, and provide student-centered learning approaches
- Waubonsee employees who serve our students every day in big and meaningful ways and advocate for our students’ success
- Our Campus Operations team that keeps our buildings clean, healthy, and safe and provides great care for our majestic trees and campus grounds
- Our Information Technology team that ensures students and employees have access to the technology we all need to learn, work and stay connected
- Local employers in our region that recruit and retain our accomplished graduates and strategically hire them to be future leaders in our local community
When we are thankful for who and what we have in our lives, we can share generously. Gratitude and joy go hand in hand with giving. There is a peace that comes from knowing we have made a difference in the life of another. As we enter the holiday season, let us take the time we need to pause, reflect, and give back to one another. We may discover the joy in giving and experience peace as we contribute to building others up. I wish everyone and their loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
Christine J. Sobek, Ed.D.
President, Waubonsee Community College