A Student Publication of Lorain County Community College

Road to recovery: The aftermath of domestic violence

After enduring and surviving domestic violence for three years, Jennifer Varney is now working on building a future for she and her son. Varney will graduate from LCCC with her associate’s degree this spring.
Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

  Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief In the weeks that followed Jennifer Varney’s brush with death, angrily vivid, red hand marks encircling her neck served as unquestionable evidence of her experience. Though the bruises scattered across her body faded with time, the…

Collegian staffers win 5 Press Club awards

Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Lorain County Community College’s student-run newspaper The Collegian won five honors in The Press Club of Cleveland’s Excellence in Journalism Awards competition for 2015. ‘Commodores complete sweep’, written by Olivia Moe and Keith A. Reynolds, featured LCCC’s…

A victim of violence: one student’s love story gone wrong

Jennifer Varney, a victim and survivor of domestic violence, lived through three years of abuse from her partner. Varney’s story highlights the somber fact that 20 people are  physically assaulted in the United States each minute.

Submitted photo

  Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Legs crossed underneath her, Jennifer Varney, a Lorain County Community College social work major, sat curled in a barrel chair while staring out the glass window-covered door of room 207 in LCCC’s College Center building. Though…

Spring 2015 President’s Forum draws a crowd


Gabe Garcia President’s Forum As the temperatures outside warmed up to a long overdue 60 degrees, it marked that time of the year for the spring semester’s President’s Forum at Lorain County Community College.  LCCC President Dr. Roy A. Church gave an…

Canvas to replace Angel this summer

Kim Teodecki Staff Writer Beginning this upcoming summer semester, Lorain County Community College will introduce its students to Canvas, an online learning management system set to replace the current ANGEL system. Canvas open-lab sessions will be held starting May 18-22…

Biomimicry transfer technology center opens on campus

LCCC President Dr. Roy Church and GL Bio founder CEO Tom Tyrell announced the opening of the first biomimicry technology center for a community college to promote innovation development in Northeast Ohio on Feb. 25.        
Alex Delaney-Gesing| The Collegian

  Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Biomimicry studies nature’s best ideas and imitates those ideas to solve human problems. It has the ultimate goal of creating new ways of living that are well-suited to life on earth over an extended period of time….

From the frontline to the classroom

LCCC student veterans like Tom Blackburn, a Navy veteran,  benefit from the use of the Veterans and Military Service Center located on the second floor of the campus’ College Center. 
Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Transitioning back into civilian life can be a shocking and disorienting adjustment for veterans and returning soldiers fresh off the battlefield. Tom Blackburn, a ten-year Navy veteran, enrolled at Lorain County Community College last year in order…

Road to recovery: The aftermath of domestic violence


After enduring and surviving domestic violence for three years, Jennifer Varney is now working on building a future for she and her son. Varney will graduate from LCCC with her associate’s degree this spring. Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

After enduring and surviving domestic violence for three years, Jennifer Varney is now working on building a future for she and her son. Varney will graduate from LCCC with her associate’s degree this spring.
Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing

In the weeks that followed Jennifer Varney’s brush with death, angrily vivid, red hand marks encircling her neck served as unquestionable evidence of her experience. Though the bruises scattered across her body faded with time, the most severest damage invisible to the human eye still remains one year later.

“We see the physical abuse, but the emotional abuse is something that we don’t see,” said Dr. Kwaku Obosu-Mensah, an associate professor of the Social Sciences and Human Resources department at Lorain County Community College. “It can be more damaging than the physical abuse.”

In a case study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 28 percent of women reported receiving medical treatment following their last physical assault incident. Of those, nearly 79 percent were treated in a hospital setting. Further, 59 percent were taken to the emergency department, sustaining injuries ranging from bruises and welts to broken bones and concussions.

“It’s one thing to shoot somebody, to even hit somebody with a car,” said Varney. “But to literally choke the life out of somebody? It takes a monster to do that.”

A national issue

Each year in the country, approximately 2 million injuries and 1,300 deaths (male and female) are caused by domestic violence, the CDC and U.S. Department of Justice reported.

“I knew that he was capable of killing somebody; I just never thought that it would be me. I never thought that it would get to the point that it did,” Varney said, “never in a million years.”

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) has been shown to account for 15 percent of all violent crimes committed in the United States per year, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

Most perceptions of domestic violence by the average observer typically places the questioning and blame on the victim. Why don’t they just walk away?

“Everybody blamed me for what happened. ‘You put yourself in that situation, you knew what he was capable of; you did it, you deal with it,’ ” Varney said.

Simply leaving an abusive partner is much more complicated than it would seem. For many, it could be that they may have a child together, feel like they have no place to go, the abuser may be the sole provider or the abuser may have their own abuse history the victim knows about, according to Lindsey Maurer, an academic counselor in LCCC’s Enrollment, Financial and Career Services.

Lasting effects

Dealing with the long-term aftermath of the situation is all Varney has done since coming home from the hospital, scathed in physical and emotional bruises.

In addition to being diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suffering a serious concussion, she now has a tendency to confuse places and events when attempting to remember childhood memories. Mood swings are a common occurrence for her.

“Before, I never had any of the problems that I have now,” she said. “ I have a tendency to be literally thrown into a rage over the dumbest stuff.”

“[Each] situation is going to vary based on the individual and the situation,” said Maurer. “Every person will have a different response to the stress and struggle they [faced].”

In a report published by the CDC, it was found that victims of IPV lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former partners. This equates to a loss of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence.

For Varney, interactions with the outside world, once a daily aspect of her life, are now looked at as an obstacle she must overcome on a regular basis.

“When I signed up for classes [last] fall semester, I didn’t even know when the semester started, how bad my social anxiety had gotten until I got to campus,” she said. “I started having all this constant anxiety and didn’t even know where it was coming from.”

After the trauma half-way through the spring semester, Varney had no choice but to withdraw from the majority of her classes. When summer semester approached, though, she signed up for online courses. Although a difficult semester, she pushed ahead and immediately enrolled in fall classes.

“I told every single professor what was going on with me. I got tons of encouragement, tons of support,” she said. “There’s been so many times where even I got tired of hearing my own stories. Because there was always something. And there really was always something; I wasn’t feeding these teachers lies. There was a lot of serious stuff going on in my life.” And they made it possible, they didn’t judge me, and I will always be grateful for that.”

The clichéd notion involving letting go of the past in order to move forward relates to Varney and any other victim of domestic violence.

“For the first couple of months after it happened, I was just so grateful I was alive, I was literally on a pink cloud,” she said. “I didn’t want to harbor resentment on top of everything else I was going through.”

Local resources

In Lorain County, there are a number of services offered to victims of domestic violence. The Genesis House Shelter, a non-profit organization founded in 1979 and the only domestic violence specific agency in the county, provides a 24-hour crisis hotline a number of resources that are available to be employed.

“We provide shelter at an unpublished location as well as a variety of outreach services in the community, community based support groups, and prevention education programming in schools all over [Lorain] County,” said Virginia Beckham, executive director of Lorain County Safe Harbor / Genesis House.

Legal advocates are also available for those victims interested in learning their legal rights and will work with them as well as accompany them to court, according to Beckham.

“Getting away from the abuser is the first place to start,” said Linda Smith, a legal advocate for Genesis House with the Elyria Municipal Court. “[Then] we help with getting victims affordable housing and overall just to getting them on track to rebuilding their lives.”

A key resource to utilize includes support groups.

“Meeting with other survivors is a good way to recover,” said Meg McIntire, manager of community education at Genesis House. “It can be very lonely because often nobody wants to talk about what happened. So, it can be their lifeline to recovering.”


Support on campus

At LCCC, Women’s Link provides academic and personal assistance to students, faculty and staff with free counseling, crisis intervention, legal services, a housing service, and short term emergency loans

“Support groups are critical because I think [victims] feel powerless; they feel alone because they don’t know anybody else it’s happening to,” said Cathy Shaw, an information support specialist in Women’s Link. “When they talk to another [victim]  who has experienced the same or similar things that they’ve gone through, it’s eye-opening to know they’re not alone.”

While enduring domestic violence, a victim is likely to have been cut off from their circle of friends and family. When they’re free of the abuse, the much-needed support system isn’t there to give them comfort. Because of this, attending support groups with other victims is beneficial during the healing process.

“I went to my first domestic violence survivor’s group not too long ago. I’ll go back eventually, I just want to get through this semester first,” Varney said. “I want to get into being more active with more women, because you feel alone. You feel really alone. I look at the three years we were together and he had managed to cause problems between every single person I cared about.”

While Women’s Link does not offer support groups for victims of domestic violence on campus, they connect interested individuals to nearby meetings in the area.

“Even if it’s only one time, a support group is critical for someone to go to because it’s a hard step to take, to get the courage to step out of what they feel is normalcy,” Shaw said. “And it’s a scary thing to do.”

Women’s Link aims to provide any services they can for those in need.

“It’s our job to anticipate those needs. Sometimes I’ll ask, ‘What was your hope in coming here? Tell me what you need.’ I want to hear it from them. I want to give their power back. And maybe give them a little bit of mine,” Shaw said. “I don’t want to control the conversation; I want them to feel empowered.”

Educational benefits

Maintaining a normal routine during and after experiencing domestic abuse has allowed Varney to continue moving forward with her life. A key component of her recovery in the past year has been attending LCCC. Consistently enrolled in classes for the past three years, it has been the one constant in her life.

I came back to school [in 2012] when my son was five-weeks-old. I lived with domestic violence the entire time that I have been enrolled,” she said.  “School’s been such a huge and grounding, forward momentum thing for me. And I really believe that it’s because of all of the professors.”

This spring, Varney is preparing to graduate with her associate of individualized studies.

“If it wasn’t for the teachers on this campus, with their support, love and just their understanding, I wouldn’t have made it,” she said. “They’ve been my rock and made it possible. They didn’t judge me, and I will always be grateful for that.”

Receiving her diploma has been Varney’s goal for a long time coming. Dedication and desire to build herself and her son a brighter future has been a motivator to get her through.

“When I graduate, I’m taking a break,” she said. “  I did what I set out to do and managed to push myself this past year, but now I’m done pushing. I am about to break if I don’t stop.”

A long road to recovery lies in the next chapter of Varney’s life. Though she hasn’t necessarily forgiven him for the damage he inflicted upon her life, she has moved beyond the anger that once encompassed her.

“I don’t really know if I’m mad at him anymore. I think I’m mad at myself for allowing it to continue for so long,” she said. “Because I deserve better than that. Everybody deserves better than that.”

CARE Center officially opens on campus

(From left) LCCC Provost and Vice President of Academic and Learner Services Dr. Marcia Ballinger, Associate Professor Dr. Daniel Cleary, Adjunct Professor  and LCADA CEO/President Tom Stuber, ADAS Executive Director Elaine Georgas, and LCCC Student Senate President Charlene Dellipoala participate in a ribbon-binding ceremony to honor the opening of LCCC's CARE Center on campus.  Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

(From left) LCCC Provost and Vice President of Academic and Learner Services Dr. Marcia Ballinger, Associate Professor Dr. Daniel Cleary, Adjunct Professor and LCADA CEO/President Tom Stuber, ADAS Executive Director Elaine Georgas, and LCCC Student Senate President Charlene Dellipoala participate in a ribbon-binding ceremony to honor the opening of LCCC’s CARE Center on campus.
Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing

This past spring semester, Lorain County Community College has taken great strides to provide support and care for those dealing with overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. Along with the recent chartering of a student club called Students in Recovery (SIR), a Caring Advocates for Recovery Education (CARE) Center has opened on campus to aid students and their loved ones in the fight against addiction.

A dedication ceremony in honor of the center’s opening was held in LCCC’s College Commons on May 13. Those in attendance included community members as well as staff, faculty and students from the college.

Located on LCCC’s campus in the Business building room 113D, the center is a partnership between LCCC, Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services (LCADA) and the Alcohol and Drug and Addiction Services (ADAS) Board of Lorain County.

Their goal is aimed toward providing prevention and controlling substance misuse programs in addition to support services for those dealing with addiction issue or coping with family members who battle addiction, according to an LCCC Press Release.

“[This] is a true partnership delivered by individuals who are passionate about preventing promising lives from straying into addiction and all the challenges and consequences that can come with it,” said LCCC President Dr. Roy Church during the dedication ceremony.

Speakers of the event included ADAS Executive Director Elaine Georgas, President / CEO of LCADA as well as LCCC adjunct professor Tom Stuber, and LCCC Student Senate President Charlene Delliopala.

“This center will open up hope and recovery for the campus community,” Georgas said. “I’m amazed and impressed that we have a student-led initiative [at LCCC] which is faculty guided, ultimately for a successful, drug-free campus and community.”

At LCCC, an addiction counselor short-term technical certificate program has been designed for individuals to become advocates in the addiction prevention and recovery field, including addiction and treatment knowledge, professionalism, evaluation, service coordination, documentation, as well as individual and group counseling, according to LCCC’s website.

The program was developed by Stuber and a team of faculty headed by coordinator of the initiative Jennifer Kukis, an LCCC associate professor.

LCCC community individuals involved in the CARE Center’s creation and operation included Associate Provost Dr. John Crooks, Provost and Vice President of Academic and Learner Services Dr. Marcia Ballinger, Manager of Student Life Selina Gaddis and Student Life student workers, Associate Professor Dr. Daniel Cleary, Professor Mary Jo Digiandomenico, Dean of Social Sciences and Human Services Dr. Jonathan Dryden, Certified Crisis Counselor Quentin Kuntz, and Program Developer of the University Partnership Patrick Keebler.

LCCC Student Senate President Charlene Dellipoala, a social work major currently pursuing her master’s degree through the college’s University Partnership with Youngstown State University, spoke on behalf of the student body in support of the new center and SIR club on campus.

“As a social worker my passion lies in the addiction field, so it is truly an honor for me to be a helping friend for anyone who comes in and needs the resources,” said Dellipoala. “Students who are in recovery deeply value the support of caring individuals across the campus; I want to be a part of their success.”

All CARE Center services are free to the campus community, including LCCC and University Partnership students. Counselors are available for appointments and walk-in sessions from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A referral specialist is available Mondays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Open five days a week, the center’s hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

Jazz & Poetry Forum brings the arts to life

Alex Delaney-Gesing|The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing

April was celebrated as National Jazz and Poetry Appreciation Month by Lorain County Community College. Sponsored by Student Life and Dining Services, the mid-day event took place on April 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All LCCC community members were invited to attend the forum and participate. Musical entertainment by the G-N-T Jazz Duo alternated with performances of the written word. Speakers included Jalisa Goodwin, Leslie Whitaker, Monica Ido, Karlton Wells, Nasira Mah-Jabeen, Jalisa Goodwin, and Austin Stambough. Emily Safron, a former LCCC student and current adjunct professor of physics and William Brest, a broadcast and video technician from IS&S, both published authors from the college, read excerpts of their books.

“Our goal was to set an atmosphere of relaxation, rejuvenation, inspiration, motivation, and empowerment that would enable students to relax so they could take a deep breath, and focus on their finals,” said Rochelle Fairley, an administrative assistant of Student Life. “We also wanted the faculty and staff to enjoy this event because they also need to be able to relax from our final obligations and responsibilities of the end of the semester.”

Students and faculty alike took in the festivities and performances conducted by their peers.

“The quality of the program, the musicians and especially the music exceeded my expectations,” said Louis Kompare, director of IS&S.

“I loved the music and appreciated listening to students share their work,”  said Innovation Fund Experiential and Work-Based Learning Specialist in Disability Services Linda Telzrow. “Very classy [and] a great presentation. I could have listened to jazz all day.”

Constance Hitchens-Robinson, an employee of Dining Services and co-host of the event, expressed her enthusiasm and pride in its success.

“Everybody taking part and participating brought me such joy,” she said. “The forum gave much-deserved recognition to the many talented people on campus.”

Spring international dinner draws diverse cultures

Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing

LCCC’s Student Senate and Multi-Cultural Club hosted the 2015 spring international dinner on April 24. A celebration to honor the end of the semester,  91 attendees joined in the festivities. Those in attendence included international and club member students as well as faculty and staff. Nationalities represented at the dinner included Chinese, African, Pakistani, Korean, French, and Russian, to name a few.

President of LCCC’s Society of Professional Journalists Keith A. Reynolds served as the evening’s master of ceremony, conducting international trivia for attendees to answer in exchange for a prize.

Musical entertainment was provided by LCCC students Gabrielle Ocasio, an early childhood major, and Ben Tillman, a business management and music major, who performed a compilation of original and cover songs, as well as Jesse James on the piano. A variety of ethnic foods from various countries represented by the international student body was served. Jesse Keating, vice president of the Multi-Cultural Club, presented certficates recognizing those international students who made the Dean’s List for the fall 2014 semester.
“At Lorain County Community College we strive to promote awareness, perspectives, and an understanding of international cultures, while also recognizing that our international students enrich the educational experience of our academic community, increase our global awareness, and provide cross-cultural interactions among all of us,” said Selina Gaddis, manager of LCCC Student Life, in welcoming those in attendance of the festivities. “We know that as international students you have many choices of colleges and universities that you can attend, but you chose Lorain County Community College. For that, we are very excited to assist you in furthering your education at LCCC. Our mission is to support you in your academic and personal development in order to enable you to achieve your goals and objectives.”

Collegian staffers win 5 Press Club awards

Alex Delaney-Gesing

Lorain County Community College’s student-run newspaper The Collegian won five honors in The Press Club of Cleveland’s Excellence in Journalism Awards competition for 2015.

‘Commodores complete sweep’, written by Olivia Moe and Keith A. Reynolds, featured LCCC’s Lady Commodores volleyball team as they conquered three collegiate teams in a single weekend.

‘Death by the spoonful’, written by Reynolds, Alex Delaney-Gesing and Moe, provided an in-depth account of one student addict’s tribulations supported with national data that shines a light on an epidemic.

‘Minimum wage sparks debate’ written by Delaney-Gesing, showcased how students are affected by a reduction of services throughout LCCC’s campus and the cutting of student worker’s hours.

‘Resisting rape culture’, written by Karl Schneider, depicted a broad look at the road a rape survivor faces after following the experience that helped bring awareness to campus.

‘Student debt: Price tag on college loans rises past $1 trillion’, written by Schneider and Delaney-Gesing, mixed statistics with personal accounts of the burden of debt while featuring the figures of  financial burdens taken on by students as they pursue their post-secondary education.

‘Student Debt’ has been announced in advance as a first place winner.

The remaining entries’ placings will be announced at the awards dinner at the House of Blues in downtown Cleveland on June 5.

LCCC & UP graduating 1,754 students

Special to The Collegian

Lorain County Community College will honor 1,405 graduates and 349 University Partnership graduates during its 51st annual commencement ceremony, at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, May 16 in the LCCC Ewing Activities Center. The keynote speaker will be Sixto Torres, a 2011 Lorain County Early College High School (ECHS) graduate.

When Torres graduated from ECHS, he had a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from Lorain County Community College. He also had a springboard to his future.

At the age of 20, Torres earned a Bachelor of Business from Baldwin Wallace University. Later this year, at the age of 22, he will earn a Global Master’s of Business Administration from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). The start of it all, he said, was LCCC and Early College (EC).

“Being in EC was like being part of a close-knit family. This family supported me when I was struggling, guided me when I didn’t know what to do, told me what’s right when I was wrong, and gave me opportunities to lead when I wanted to shine,” Torres said.

The theme of this year’s commencement is “inspiration.”

At the spring ceremony,  191 students will receive two degrees, 29 will receive three degrees, 11 will receive four degrees, two students five degrees and one student has earned six degrees.

LCCC’s graduating class will receive two-year associate degrees in arts, applied business, applied science, science, individualized studies and technical studies. One-year technical certificates will also be awarded.

An additional 349 students will be honored for earning bachelor’s and / or master’s degrees from the 12 universities in the LCCC University Partnership program, including 98 graduates from Ashland University, 47 with a Bachelor of Science in education and 51 with a Master of Education; 33 from Cleveland State University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology; 57 students with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Kent State University and 45 bachelor’s and three master’s degrees from Youngstown State University.

More than 500 LCCC and University Partnership students are expected to participate in the commencement ceremony. They will be recognized individually by name as they cross the stage and receive their diplomas from LCCC President Dr. Roy A. Church.

Also this year, 61 students from the eighth class of the ECHS will graduate. This group of students from Lorain County will earn both their high school diploma and their Associate of Arts degree.

Also graduating from LCCC with Associate of Arts degrees are nine Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) students representing seven different school districts. The PSEO program – recently renamed College Credit Plus by the state of Ohio – allows high school students to earn college credits while in high school. In this program, students enroll in courses at LCCC and receive dual credit for high school requirements and college credit.

LCCC nursing program receives highest accreditation rating

Kim Teodecki
Staff Writer

Lorain County Community College’s nursing program recently received the highest accreditation rating from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

“This means that LCCC has successfully met all six accreditation standards,” said Hope Moon, LCCC interim dean of Allied Health and Nursing.

The change comes as a result of a site visit and self-study executed by ACEN, both submitted in 2014.

LCCC has been evaluated for accreditations since the 1960s, but the last few times the nursing program did not meet all six standards at the time of the survey. As a result, additional work including extra reports and visits from the ACEN were necessary.

“Meeting all six standards took a lot of effort on the part of faculty over the last few years,” Patricia Schrull, Nursing program director at LCCC, said. “It is important that nursing programs be accredited.  Agencies like the Veterans Administration (VA) system will not hire nurses who have not graduated from an accredited program.  So this positive accreditation helps students get nursing positions in government agencies.”

“The accrediting agency has faculty to student ratios which we have to maintain. Currently that ratio is 1:25, one faculty member to 25 students,” said Schrull.

According to Schrull, the nursing program at LCCC accepts 250 new students per semester and currently has around 550 students enrolled.

“We work diligently to assure that our program meets or exceeds accreditation standards that all associate degree nursing programs are held to by ACEN,” said Moon. “This accreditation is a great indication to our students of the high quality of training and preparation they receive to begin their careers as nurses. The staff at LCCC, Medina County University Center and Bowling Green State University combine to provide an outstanding learning experience for students in our area.”

The new accreditation rating will last eight years and has been scheduled for re-evaluation in the fall of 2022.

Greenhouse and gardens thrive on campus

 Marco Wilkinson, LCCC’s gardens coordinator, tends to the greenhouse plants in the LS building  as well as the Hummingbird Butterfly Habitat and Robert L. Callaway Memorial / Healing Gardens around campus. Photo by Ryan Wisniewski

Marco Wilkinson, LCCC’s gardens coordinator, tends to the greenhouse plants in the LS building as well as the Hummingbird Butterfly Habitat and Robert L. Callaway Memorial / Healing Gardens around campus.
Photo by Ryan Wisniewski

Ryan Wisniewski

For Marco Wilkinson, Lorain County Community College’s gardens coordinator, working with student and community volunteers to grow and cultivate plant life allows him to pursue his passions.   A certified horticulturist and faculty member of the sustainable agriculture program at LCCC, Wilkinson works on various gardens around campus.

The concept of including gardens on campus was spearheaded by Ruby Beil, coordinator of the sustainable agriculture program and assistant professor in the science and mathematics division. It served as part of a higher plan to create more diverse garden spaces that could minimize lawn area  as green desert space and develop learning opportunities as well as outdoor lab situations for classes to use.

The Hummingbird Butterfly Habitat Garden, located between the Campana Engineering Building and the Stocker Arts Center, was the first created as part of this plan in 2010.  The Robert L. Callaway Memorial / Healing Garden followed, created to honor the memories of LCCC faculty and staff who have passed away. The greenhouse opened in the fall of 2013, along with the opening of the Lab Sciences building.

Wilkinson oversees all developments in the gardens and greenhouse while continuing to expand in both places where he can.

Since work on the gardens is completely volunteer maintained, there is always a need for anyone who is looking to join. No prior experience is needed. Instead, volunteers will be educated in the various ways to grow different types of flowers and vegetables.

“I always like to have students walk away with a handful of practical skills that they can use in their own lives,” he said. “Hopefully I can get students to be able to grow their own gardens off the LCCC campus and understand the importance of the environment and taking care of the natural world around us.”

Volunteers like Casey King, an LCCC student working towards her associate of arts degree,   have taken away a great deal from volunteering in the gardens and greenhouse.

“[I’ve learned that] growing your own food is cheaper, it is not full of chemicals, and it’s fresh.”

The sustainable agricultural program was established in 2012. Since then, it has raised different types of seedlings such as vegetable, herb, and flower.  The seedlings serve different purposes, including use in the gardens on campus as well as in various community gardens throughout Lorain County.

The program has partnered with three different organizations, allotting space in the greenhouse for each. One organization includes Oberlin Community Services, overseen by LCCC urban studies major Samantha Beetler, which grows seedlings that will eventually end up in food pantries.

Beetler is glad to come out and volunteer.

“[Wilkinson] lets me come and start growing for our garden in Oberlin. I’ll later on work in the greenhouse to help out. [He] is fantastic, from one gardener to another; he has a huge wealth of plant information,” she said. “It’s really nice to have someone to ask about stuff that I want to grow in my garden and pretty much have all my questions answered. It’s a really great resource.”

Volunteer and former LCCC student Allan Wharton oversees the growing of vegetable seedlings for community gardens in Elyria, and Dennis Knapfler, also a former student, is growing vegetable seedlings for We Care We Share, a public charity organization based in Lorain County.

The greenhouse receives a great deal of use while growing different plants for the campus, a plant propagation course in sustainable agriculture, and as a lab space where students can grow seedlings.

Jeff Zemanek, a criminal justice major, is happy to see that LCCC has the gardens and the greenhouse.

“I think it spreads positivity and shows that regular students can grow almost anything, even with a limited knowledge of knowing how to plant in a garden.”

Volunteers of the gardens and greenhouse meet in the first floor lobby of the LS building on Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. and on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Volunteers will go to either the Butterfly Garden outside of Stocker or the Healing Garden in the courtyard.  On rainy days volunteers will work in the greenhouse on the roof of the LS building.  For information regarding LCCC’s campus gardens, greenhouse, or interest in volunteering, contact mwilkinson@lorainccc.edu.

LCCC scores high in valued-added rankings

Special to The Collegian

Graduates of Lorain County Community College have independent verification that they have made the right choice in earning their degrees from LCCC.

LCCC scored the highest among all Ohio community colleges in earnings for graduates in a recent value-added report by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings.

With more than 100 degrees and majors, LCCC prepares its graduates for good paying careers. Additionally, the University Partnership at LCCC gives its graduates additional ways to succeed with pathways to bachelor’s degrees in many of those same fields.

“The UP increases our graduates’ earning potential,” said LCCC President Dr. Roy Church.

On a value-added rating scale of 100 being the top score, LCCC scored a 93 for the median total earnings of its graduates with 10 years of experience. Value- added benefits that were used to calculate this quality score included graduation rates, market value of the skills the college teaches as well as exceptional leadership and teaching that contribute to student success. The report used a blend of government and private data for its analysis.

“This report confirms that LCCC provides a high quality education at a great value for our students,” Church said.

The Brookings’ report also notes that a college’s mix of majors and skills it provides students “are highly predictive of economic outcomes for its graduates.”

“We know people are worried about the high cost of higher education and the value of their degree,” Church continued. “Now we have data that proves an LCCC degree is an excellent value that positions you for success. LCCC’s tuition consistently ranks among the lowest in the state of Ohio – currently second among the state’s 23 community colleges – at $118.34 per credit hour (beginning in summer semester) for an annual full-time cost of $3,177.  The average annual full-time tuition for community colleges in Ohio is $4,145.”

Colleges where many students pursue degrees in fields like healthcare, engineering, computer science and business see higher earnings among their alumni, the report concludes.

“The choice of whether and where to attend college is among the most important investment decisions individuals and families can make,” Church said. “LCCC continues to provide the most affordable option for students to achieve their educational goals and be a success.”

To see the entire Brookings report – titled “Beyond College Rankings: a Value-Added Approach to Assessing Two and Four Year Schools” – visit http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports2/2015/04/29-beyond-college-rankings-rothwell-kulkarni.

To learn more about educational programs at LCCC visit www.lorainccc.edu.


Connect2Complete food drive & rally fights hunger

Gabe Garcia

When it comes to a topic like hunger, it’s difficult for some undergraduates to realize it’s not just a problem in places like Nigeria or Somalia. For the Connect to Complete Peer Advocate Program at Lorain County Community College, it’s an issue they hope to shed some light on with the Spring Food Drive and Rally.

The Food Drive is being held from April 27 through May 7. Students are invited to donate non- perishable food items in boxes across campus, such as the one near the Student Life Desk in the campus’ College Center or Career Services on the first floor of the Bass Library / Community Resource building. Last fall, the peer advocates were able to collect over 500 pounds of food. Though there is no goal set for this year, they hope to break that number.

“Hunger is a real problem in the community, even here on campus,” said Alissa Bambarger, peer advocate coordinator. “As a community college we have power to inspire, to give back and volunteer in any way that we can. The idea for the food drive came to us last year when we heard the New Life Community Action’s food supply had dwindled and we wanted to help them out.”

New Life Community Action is a non-profit food pantry located in downtown Lorain that provides food and clothes to people with a low-income background. All donations from the food drive and following rally will go to the organization as well as Campus Hunger Relief Efforts.

The Food Rally will take place on May 7 in the College Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students must bring a canned good or non-perishable food item in order to participate.

“We’ve had so many of our peer advocates getting involved and volunteering in this project,” said Bambarger. “One in particular is Joslyn Francis, who’s basically become the life of this entire operation. Her mother-in-law runs the New Life Community Action Program, so naturally this hit home for her.”

Joslyn Francis is a mother of two and current LCCC student majoring in culinary arts. Along with Francis and Bambarger working on the project are student peer advocates Stefan Jarema, Nautica Jones, Brandon Pullen, Mary Bernard, Pam Arabian, Alyssa McLaughlin and Co-coordinator Deana Shook.

The rally will offer a variety of activities, including line dancing,  a ‘canstruction’ contest, line dancing, Couponing 101 and a Taste Off with food samples from common pantries as well as 89.1 radio providing music for the event.

Prizes include tickets to the Cleveland Orchestra, YMCA family passes, Segway tours of Cleveland, Crushers tickets and others from Commodore Books & More, the campus bookstore.

“We really just hope to get as much food as possible,” Bambarger said. “If this one goes well we hope to have another one in the fall. With food and prizes, it’s sure to be fun.”