A Student Publication of Lorain County Community College

Student submits assignments from hospital after delivering a baby

Anthony LaRosaStaff Writer “I have definitely seen very dedicated students over the years, but I don’t know if I’ve had any as dedicated as Felicia,” Mollie Chambers, professor of English at LCCC, said. On the night of Nov.10, Lorain resident…

Appreciating homegrown literary royalty at LCCC

Oscar RosadoEditor-in-Chief Student Senate Learning Center Representative Luis Hernandez has never seen an event that highlighted his area of interest. In this case, it is literature. To do something about it, he organized a literary appreciation event at the Spitzer…

Local businesses revenue booms due to in-person classes returning

Oscar RosadoEditor-in-Chief Many local businesses near colleges and schools have seen  increased sales with the return of in-person classes.  “We’ve certainly seen more traffic because people are here and they need to eat,” said Tracy Green, vice president of strategic…

German student’s “American dream” comes true

Lauren HoffmanStaff Writer When German student Žaklina Simić was 7-years-old, she always dreamed of traveling to America. She would hear about the different happenings and always wanted to go there to experience it for herself. As she got older, Simić’s…

COVID-19 vaccine saves faculty’s life

Lauren HoffmanStaff Writer When Maria McConnell started writing human interest stories for Lakewood high school newspaper, she never thought she would later become the center of one. McConnell, professor of marketing and hospitality/tourism management classes at LCCC for the past…

Forum highlights college’s programs for student success

Christina YuhaszJRNM 151  “Dream big because opportunities are immense for students,” LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., urged students at the President’s Forum on Nov. 1 at the College Center. At the forum, held two years later due to COVID-19, Ballinger…

U.P. marks 25 years

Oscar RosadoEditor-in-Chief The Campus’ University Partnership celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and many have played a role in its success to help students grow beyond the Associate’s Degree. LCCC President, Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., plays an important role in the partnership…

Student submits assignments from hospital after delivering a baby

Anthony LaRosa
Staff Writer

“I have definitely seen very dedicated students over the years, but I don’t know if I’ve had any as dedicated as Felicia,” Mollie Chambers, professor of English at LCCC, said.

On the night of Nov.10, Lorain resident and student at LCCC, Felicia Maxwell, was admitted into St. John Medical Center in Westlake in order to give birth to her fourth child. Although her baby was arriving four weeks early, this was the finale to her pregnancy that she was nursing throughout the entire first semester.

Chambers said, “She even had some extra appointments that would overlap with class, so even sometimes she would be in a waiting room, in class, waiting to be called into her appointment.”

After spending the night in the hospital, Maxwell began her day as she normally would, but this time in the hospital bed.

“I logged into Zoom as normal for school, and as soon as I logged into English 161, it was baby time,” Maxwell said.

Shortly after, a little boy named Brycen Slaven was born.

But, even after bringing another life into the world, Maxwell remained determined to her education, completing and turning in her paper on time for English 161.

“There she was with a two-day old baby, submitting her paper, and I was just really amazed with her dedication and her willingness to keep going when she could have really easily said ‘well I can’t do it because I just had a baby,” Chambers said.

Maxwell’s dedication to her education goes back to when she had her first daughter in 2016.

“I started school when I had my first daughter, and I dropped out because it got hard and life happened. I decided that this time, I was not going to make excuses because that’s pretty much what it was after my first daughter. I was ready to start a career,” Maxwell continued, “I knew if I stopped, I would just drop out, so I persevered.”

Maxwell already began her assignment before having the baby, and in her mind, she was always going to finish it. She said, “If I stopped, it just would have never gotten done.”

As Maxwell works toward majoring in social work, she is also working seven days a week, and 12 hours a day, as a supervisor at Amazon, in order to provide a better future for her four children.

“I’m a single mother, and being a single mother is already a struggle. My current job pays well but it’s a lot of wear and tear. I want to work smarter and not harder, and if I want to sit behind a desk, I have to go to school,” Maxwell said.

Chambers said, “I kept emailing her and telling her I was so impressed. She really just went along like it wasn’t a big deal and that was more impressive to me. I have never seen anything like Felicia has been able to do.” Chambers was able to share the news of Maxwell’s baby boy to the class the following week because only seven days after giving birth, she was back in class.

“She has a dedication that is unmatched. I really think we can all learn a lot about dedication by the decisions Felicia made throughout the course. What a great example she is for all of us,” Chambers said. “I’m really proud of her and thankful to have her as a student.”

Appreciating homegrown literary royalty at LCCC

Hernandez highlights the value of literature at the event. Submitted Photo.

Oscar Rosado
Editor-in-Chief

Student Senate Learning Center Representative Luis Hernandez has never seen an event that highlighted his area of interest. In this case, it is literature. To do something about it, he organized a literary appreciation event at the Spitzer Conference Center at the Culinary Arts Lobby on Dec. 3 where many students and even faculty got a chance to showcase their literary talents.

Hernandez has been with the Student Senate since the start of the semester, and an English major for three years.

“Being an English major, I haven’t seen any events that have to do with literature, so being in Student Senate, I wanted to bring that out and I’ve gotten a big response from students who wanted to participate, and even if they didn’t want to participate, they wanted to be there,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez said students have said there hasn’t been much of a chance to showcase and express a lot of their literature, writing, poetry, etc.

“This was a great chance to show our talents,” said Hernandez. “I wanted to give students a chance to show their talent in literature.”

Hernandez encourages the art of literature, saying, “Once you hear people’s poetry, it can take you to another level/world.”

Hernandez wished to have a mix of writing from both students and staff as a lot of staff on campus have written published works to give them a chance to express themselves.

“I wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to express themselves, not somebody from out of town. We have so many authors and writers here that I didn’t even know of, so why have somebody from outside when we have our very own talents here,” said Hernandez, hoping to have authors homegrown here in LCCC.

The theme for the event was royalty. On the tables at the event, Hernandez had quotes from various authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, among others, so people can get a sense of who they are, and why we can consider them royalty.

“It’s also a way for people to know about good authors from our books and English classes,” commented Hernandez. “We have our own English royalty here, so that was my mindset going in.”

Hernandez commented he is new to the senate, and wanted to do something different and think outside the box to attract as many students as possible. He wanted to stray away from what has already been done by previous senate members.

“Whatever it took to attract our students,” said Hernandez. “I want students to be not only aware of our events but actually like our events enough for them to show up,” said Hernandez. “This is for them, the students, we are representing them the body of students, with that said, I want them to feel like we’re doing a good job with that.”

Hooks recites a poem at the event.
Submitted Photo.

The event itself

Many participated in the event including LCCC English professors, Karin Hooks Ph.D., Kimberly Karshner, and Kurt Fawver Ph.D recited their written works, as well as LCCC students including Bailey Borer, Michael Washington, Rahab Ali, student senate financial secretary Asia Quiñones-Evans, student senate president Zarai Aquaino, and Editor-in-Chief of the LCCC newspaper The Collegian Oscar Rosado.

The event was accompanied by food, as well as jazz music performed by the Jef Meyers Trio.

Student Bailey Borer recites poetry at the event. Submitted Photo.

“Feeling blessed”

After the event was said and done, Hernandez felt content.

“It was very amazing, it went really well,” said Hernandez. “I felt honored and surprised because literature has proven once again, that it is a way of getting people together, and into one voice together. We proved that. Students were reciting, faculty were reciting, it was amazing.”

There was also an opportunity for open mic, in which five people participated already prepared even though none had signed up for the event initially. 

“They didn’t RSVP, they didn’t say they were going, showed up, because they heard of it, and wanted to go. I feel so blessed,” said Hernandez.

Local businesses revenue booms due to in-person classes returning

The Subway located at the Marketplace in the College Center.                 
Oscar Rosado | Editor-in-Chief

Oscar Rosado
Editor-in-Chief

Many local businesses near colleges and schools have seen  increased sales with the return of in-person classes. 

“We’ve certainly seen more traffic because people are here and they need to eat,” said Tracy Green, vice president of strategic and institutional development at LCCC.

Green went on to say both Marketplace and Starbucks are here primarily to serve our campus community, so students, faculty, and staff recall the customers for both those, and they have been able to ramp up on services.

“We’re seeing a bit of more normalcy,” said Green. “I think because those areas are designed in their service and their size to meet the on campus population that we’ve seen certainly greater traffic than what we’ve seen last year within those facilities. Both Starbucks and Marketplace have adjusted their hours as well as their offerings to meet where that demand is at. That’s one of the reasons why Subway reopened this fall, is because of the increased number of students that are here for in-person classes.”

Though there is no clear- cut data that shows how much of an increase in sales of the facilities on campus have, Green assures there is definitely an increase compared to last year.

“The percentage of in-person classes are close to about 70 percent,” said Green. “Students choose both types of mode of delivery, some are taking online and in-person. Though the traffic has increased, we also recognize that online learning is here to stay. We’ll still certainly serve the food needs of students as well as those caffeine needs of students.” 

Green adds they are also making sure that the campus offers the classes that best serve the students, and that Marketplace and Starbucks have really added resources to support students.

“No student goes hungry”

“This goes without commitment to ensure that no student goes hungry or goes without technology, so our Marketplace has been very involved during this time, of working with the Commodore Cupboard to flash freeze food that would go into the bookstore, as well as the operational support,” said Green. “It’s one big family umbrella of really trying to meet the student’s needs.”

According to Green, 70 percent of courses are offered in-person. 61 percent of students are enrolled in at least one online course, ensuring online courses are not going anywhere.

“Our promise is no student goes without technology, and so being able to have that resource of the bookstore that has the technology, has the Apple store there, was one key way during the pandemic that we could ensure that we upheld that promise,” assured Green.

Commodore Bookstore

“We’ve been seeing about the same thing,” said Manager of the Commodore Bookstore, Patty Clark, who has been managing for ten years. “We’ve tried, along with the staff and the students and faculty, trying to bring in some of the public with our partnership program, with our partnership apparel, so we’ve been seeing more people coming into the store, some from outside, saying ‘I’m looking for this type of sweatshirt or that’ and of course textbooks and other needs.”

“We’re seeing more of our gift sales and our clothing sales go up,” said Clark. “Along with the technology, we have a technology service center and we help students with any of their classwork needs, such as access codes or if they are having trouble accessing or anything like that, we are here to serve them,” said Clark. “We’ve seen more in store traffic with that.”

Clark said they adjusted well despite the pandemic a year ago. They offered curbside pickup as an option for students to receive their books and other needs, and Clark commented on an increase in online sales through their website. Clark added they have seen more traffic now than a year ago.

“Students still need their resources, they need their books, they need their math lab, etc., so it was just a different way of being able to get them those resources,” said Green.

Employee inputs

Some of the employees of the businesses here on campus added to the subject.

“There are more students here than last year,” said Subway employee Tara Porter. Regardless, she knows the number of students on campus will remain. “It’s gonna stay that way. There is still a low percentage of in-person classes, but I am very happy to see familiar faces.”

“Definitely from last year, there has been an increase of people on campus, with early college students coming back, and staff and faculty coming back, it’s about 60 percent on campus, which is pretty good, but definitely better than last year, but we’re still down sales from pre-pandemic,” said Starbucks employee Rachel Caywood.

Going for her Associates in Dental Hygiene and retail employee at the Sheffield Lake Cracker Barrel, Rebecca Cupek had been working for four months, but even she has seen an increase in people coming in.

“I got the job at the beginning of summer, and it was a lot slower, and then as the school year started picking up, it got a lot busier,” said Cupek. “For sales specifically, I work on Saturdays which are fairly busy, but they were a lot slower in the summer, and when school started to picked up.”

Elyria Dairy Queen

According to Elyria Dairy Queen Manager Stacey Mahnke, “We have been pretty busy for the past year and a half. A lot of that comes from the college, and from the elementary school next door as well.”

The Elyria Dairy Queen has seen a lot of traffic especially with its mobile and Door Dash services which have risen due to the pandemic. 

“We’re seeing an increase in business because of that and because some other businesses in the area don’t have enough staff and they’re having to close, so we’re seeing an influx in business for both of those reasons,” said Elyria Dairy Queen Operator John Godfrey.

Other businesses

At Olde Town Pizza in Amherst, workers have become very busy with in-person classes being back in full swing, “It hasn’t affected us too much. Mornings are slow, but when the kids from the high school get out it starts to get busy,” said Bella Delturco, an employee at Olde Town. Since opening back up prices have increased a little, “Prices of meat and cheese have gone up, but not a whole lot. I don’t know the exact percentage of the increase in price, but I do know that items like the BLT fold-over have gone up $2.00,” Delturco said. During the lock down, stores had to make a few adjustments to still provide business, “When we were on lock down, we had to carry-out because we closed our dining room and had everything sectioned off.”

Arabica Coffee in Amherst has gotten a lot of business from not just high school students, but college students as well. “There is a lot more after-school traffic. With some college students being online they like to come in get coffee and do their assignments. It’s slowed down quite a bit though because most of them have gone back to being physically in class,” said Samantha Ives, an employee at Arabica. Once lockdown was over, Arabica’s prices were also increased just like Old Towne Pizza’s.  It also became hard to get some of the items they need to run their business.  “I don’t know the exact increase in the percentage, but I do know that it has been hard to get some of the things we usually order. Our owner just said yesterday that we used to order two months’ worth of food and drinks. Now we order two weeks’ worth at a time which means we are paying more money,” said Ives. COVID-19 took a toll on businesses income, “I didn’t start until about a month ago, but I do know that we were closed for a little while and there was also remodeling being done. We sometimes have people quarantine and we also wear masks to keep not just us safe but our customers,” said Ives.

Springboard retail

According to Springboard, which is the leading provider of retail data analytics, retail traffic counting, and customer sentiment tracking for leading brands, shopping centers, and downtowns worldwide, foot traffic in general dropped 88% in the beginning of the pandemic. This has gradually improved to being 66.8 percent below 2019 levels by the end of the year. In 2021, pedestrian traffic is said to still be down nearly 51 percent.

Christina Yuhasz contributed to the report.

COVID-19 vaccine saves faculty’s life

McConnell

Lauren Hoffman
Staff Writer

When Maria McConnell started writing human interest stories for Lakewood high school newspaper, she never thought she would later become the center of one. McConnell, professor of marketing and hospitality/tourism management classes at LCCC for the past 36 years, found herself on the wrong side of health back in 2014 when she discovered she had lung cancer. 

The decision was clear, and McConnell soon had surgery to remove one of her lungs. For her, “It was definitely a challenge, but I was doing okay.” Breathing got a little harder, and life became slightly difficult, but McConnell still pushed through strong. 

Respiratory Fears 

That all changed in 2020 when the COVID – 19 pandemic happened. “Every time I hear respiratory, I get a little nervous because of my condition so when COVID – 19 hit, I was really worried,” McConnell recalled. Her jocular warming tone quickly turned serious as she progressed into the story. “I got Moderna for my vaccine as well as took all the other precautions, you know double masks and social distancing,” 

McConnell, very vocal with her hands, counted off the different types lazily before saying “I was really starting to feel like a recluse,” and was so “hesitant of catching something so I never went anywhere unless I had to.” 

   Small trips to the curbside pick-ups at grocery stores became the number one social outing for McConnell until Labor Day 2021. “I started to get a scratchy throat I remember” and at first, she feared it was a late summer cold. 

COVID-19 Positive

Her family suggested she get a COVID – 19 test just to be safe. At this point, McConnell’s fidgeting hands quickened and her voice seemed to slightly betray her. “The results came back and I was COVID – 19 positive,” the words feeling taboo on her lips. “When I got that positive test, my immediate first thought was where was I that I had let my guard down? And the worst part was, did I give it to anyone?” 

That was when she realized the last person, she was with was her elderly mother. Even when still talking about the worry of giving COVID 19 to her mom, McConnell gets teary-eyed. “I was devastated. I immediately made sure she was okay, which she was, but I was still just so scared for her and myself.” The fear didn’t stop at contracting COVID – 19, but rather bled into other people’s opinions of her, “I was afraid to tell people,” she laughed, “Afraid of what they’ll say or think.” 

Thankfully, McConnell suffered mildly, having the most intense and weird part being her loss of smell and some added difficulty breathing. McConnell tilted her head slightly as she answered, “Has it affected my breathing? I think so, my symptoms of labored breathing have definitely intensified,” but she continued that the vaccine and the Regeneron fusion truly saved her life. “Had I not been vaccinated, my doctor told me I would have ended up in the ICU 50% on a ventilator and 50% on my way to the morgue.” 

Vaccine Failure

Harry Kestler Ph.D., an HIV virology and microbiology professor at LCCC, agrees with McConnell as well as provided his opinion on why the vaccine, while helpful, still failed enough for her to have contracted COVID-19. Kestler explained that McConnell’s infection is “what’s called a breakthrough infection and those happen especially to people who are less immune.” 

  According to Kestler, people who are immunocompromised may not always build up adequate levels of protection after an initial two-dose primary of any COVID-19 vaccine series. In addition to prior sickness, age, former surgeries and even stress can cause lapses in the vaccine because of its lack of sterilizing ability. 

Kestler noted that timing could be an issue as well. “The booster shot is designed to protect ourselves and each other as well as cut off a virus at its source which is why vaccines are so important. 

NPR Health’s Rob Stein said something similar to Kestler, noting “the COVID-19 vaccines are very effective, but they’re not perfect which is why the CDC has reported more than 10,000 breakthrough cases.” 

Mental Health’s Control

Still for McConnell and many others throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the physical did not compare to the mental struggles. The mental taxation was much more challenging than the physical for her and believes it’s a “whole other area of COVID 19.”

Despite the physical complications that could have led to the vaccine failure, Kestler agreed with McConnell on the status of mental health. “I think the entire world is a little bit clinically depressed right now,” he noted, adding, “there is a direct connection to the immune system and mental state. “Personally, I don’t think this mental stress is surprising.” 

Kestler explained that the Placebo effect is a real thing and that its mental control over people’s brains often lead to physical control over their health as well. For him and McConnell, the mental stress of the Pandemic and contracting COVID-19, itself much worse. McConnell reiterated that the mental aspect of getting COVID-19 was worse than the physical and that “you don’t breathe a sigh of relief, but rather you feel like a walking time bomb, never knowing who will be next” when being infected. 

Vaccine equals Normalcy 

As far as getting the vaccine goes, McConnell feels that “everybody has to make their own judgment call on it. For me, it was no question.” Yet even while saying this, McConnell’s emotions seemed to scream that she hopes everyone just gets it so that this can be over. After all, “living in this COVID-19 world is not fun.” 

McConnell used to be an avid traveler, taking one to two international trips a year on top of visiting her kids out of state and hopes to get back to it all soon. In this, McConnell is not alone as the fight for normalcy post-COVID-19 continues.

Forum highlights college’s programs for student success

Dr. Ballinger

Christina Yuhasz
JRNM 151 

“Dream big because opportunities are immense for students,” LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., urged students at the President’s Forum on Nov. 1 at the College Center.

At the forum, held two years later due to COVID-19, Ballinger discussed various topics: Career by Design, the University Partnership, equity, and mental health. Career by Design helps students meet their goals by connecting them with employers. Another resource is the Career Office which helps students prepare for jobs.

Ballinger said the Career by Design program is expected that 10,000 more students will graduate from the college. “Between 2019 and 2025, 10,000 more students will graduate from Lorain County Community College. As of this past May we are 55% of the way towards that goal.”

The college’s University Partnership began 25 years ago. Ballinger said she is a proud graduate of Kent State’s MBA program through the University Partnership program.

“The US Department of Education named LCCC this past summer the most affordable higher education institution in Ohio. With the University Partnership students save $74,000,” Ballinger said.  

Starting in 2018, Lorain’s legislature provided colleges to apply for their own bachelor’s degree program.

The college is here to help every single student to meet their goals. Equity is what helps students succeed in classes or assignments they may be struggling with. Ballinger found that tutoring services offered at LCCC helped her to be successful, and it may help other students. “Little did I know everybody else was struggling, just as I was struggling,” Ballinger said.

Ballinger explained some of her challenges as president of LCCC. “I view everything as an opportunity,” Ballinger said. “The past 18 months has had so many challenges because everything has shifted in an ongoing way. We are here to ensure that student’s make it to the finish line.”

Marisa Vernon White, Ph.D., Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Services at Lorain County Community College highlighted the mental health services available at the college. They include one-on-one counseling, the Advocacy and Resource Center, 24/7 answering service, TogetherAll, Active Minds, and WellTrack.

First-generation student, Harlem Wizards entertainer recalls LCCC days

Ryan performing tricks with basketballs at the College Center Commons. Submitted Photo.

Oscar Rosado
Editor-in-Chief

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Jack Ryan, aka Black Jack Ryan, is a streetball and basketball player, and entertainer for the Harlem Wizard, as well as a first-generation student at LCCC. He was also a former player of the LCCC’s men’s basketball team for the 1980-81 season during his time on campus.

Ryan began playing basketball at the age of eight years old, and attended LCCC in the fall semester of 1980. He was at campus for only a brief period of time before being thrown off the basketball team, and then leaving school.

Ryan does not recall what classes he took during his time at campus, but recalls taking the easiest courses possible. Only being on campus for one semester, Ryan did not recall even finishing the semester, although he did finish his classes.

During his time here, he played basketball. “That’s the reason why I came here, is because I signed a letter of intent to go play basketball on a scholarship to Ohio University,” said Ryan.

However, a week later, the University rejected him because Ryan’s grades were so low, only having a GPA of 1.9. That is what led Ryan to LCCC, to get his grades up, and play ball, only for him to be thrown off the team, and ultimately out of school.

Ryan said he went back home, got another offer from Oregon, only for the exact same scenario to play out again. Later, Ryan walked on Brooklyn College, a division one basketball school at the time, made the team, and got thrown off the team at Christmas.

“I couldn’t listen to authority, I wanted to do it my way, I never thought I would get caught, I was a class clown, I was a coach’s worst nightmare, a teacher’s worst nightmare, and a parent’s worst nightmare,” said Ryan. He went on to add, “Never was a bad kid, didn’t rob anybody, didn’t beat anybody up, never used drugs, I just couldn’t get out of my own way, and I couldn’t listen to authority.”

Enter the Harlem Wizards

Ryan said he got opportunity after opportunity and blew every single one, yet not until he got an opportunity at the age of 37 years old to be a Harlem Wizard that he would say to himself, ‘this is why I’m here, this is what I wanna do, I’m not screwing this up’, and would to the gym and practice mornings, noons, and nights as well as at parks, and his apartment. According to Ryan, one year he became the best trickster on the team.

The Harlem Wizards are an entertainment team like the Harlem Globetrotters, and have been around since 1962. The difference between the two is that the Globetrotters play against the same team day in, day out at the big arenas, and the Wizards do fundraisers at the highschools where they play against the school teachers, according to Ryan. 

“It is the same type of funny, interactive, tricks, comedy, dancing, etc. same thing, but a little different,” said Ryan.

“I had a rough upbringing, up until the age of 37, and then I was discovered by the Harlem Wizards, and ever since then, it’s been great,” said Ryan.

He was discovered by the Wizards at a basketball tournament in Florida where Ryan was spinning a basketball on his thumb. “One thing led to another, and that was it. That changed my life, just like that,” said Ryan.

Ryan has been with the Harlem Wizards since 1997. According to Ryan, he has done thousands of shows, all around the world, including Qatar, China, Barcelona, and Berlin. With Qatar and Barcelona being Ryan’s favorite spots.

Playing off little fumbles

However no one is perfect. Ryan himself had one incident where he did not perform perfectly. “I was getting ready to spin my finale for the Portland Trail half time show in Oregon. I was spinning my basketballs, I could see one of them slowing down, and I tried to hurry up, I had seven, eight, nine – I grabbed the tenth one, and that one fell and hit the other basketball, and went downhill from there,” said Ryan. He went on to add, “there’s always little fumbles, but no one can see, I just play it off,” chuckled Ryan. He said he practices a lot, saying it takes hard work, and repetition, saying time needs to be put.

Ryan with Coach Marty Eggleston. Submitted Photo.

Still doing tricks

Like many, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Ryan, but says he is still working. Ryan has performed at many events such as high schools, colleges such as LCCC, bar mitzvahs, etc. Ryan has not slowed down at all as a basketball entertainer.

LCCC’s own Men’s Varsity Coach, Marty Eggleston had invited Ryan back on campus. Ryan and Eggleston met in 1994 in New York.

“We know each other, but Coach Marty didn’t know I went here, and I didn’t know he was coaching here, so when he saw my show, we got in touch and long story short he brought me here to speak to the students, perform, and do a halftime show,” said Ryan.

U.P. marks 25 years

The Dr. Roy A. Church University Center which holds the University Partnership office. Oscar Rosado | Editor-in-Chief

Oscar Rosado
Editor-in-Chief

The Campus’ University Partnership celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and many have played a role in its success to help students grow beyond the Associate’s Degree. 
LCCC President, Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., plays an important role in the partnership and said she was a part of the creation of it.
The drive-in its conception was how to make a program both affordable and close to home for those who wish to stay locally.
According to the census data circa 1993, Lorain County had the highest percentage of adults with an Associate’s Degree in the North East Ohio area, but the Bachelor’s Degree attainment level was last, with only about 14% of adults 25 and older had a Bachelor’s Degree. The majority of the population had only received a high school diploma.
The economic future of Lorain County was becoming more dependent on high skilled jobs that required an increased educational level. The campus began to look for an innovative approach to bring degrees beyond the Associate’s Degree, according to Ballinger.
“If we can’t offer the four-year degree perhaps we can partner with universities where we can create a model that would look at what degrees would be in most demand by our county’s residents as well as by employers in our region and can partner with the universities to actually bring the program and courses to the campus,” said Ballinger.
The campus had one example to look towards in the model building process in Macomb Community College in Michigan, which had a very similar situation as Lorain did. They had created a university center that provided a similar service as the university partnership. Ballinger recalls having trips in the early 1990s and that had sparked how LCCC could do something similar. Ballinger said they learned what they could from the model, and that was the origin of the concept of the partnership.
At its origins, the campus recruited the first five universities – Cleveland State University, University of Akron, Kent State University, Bowling Green State University, and Ashland University, according to Ballinger.
“It really was a very community-driven approach to creating the university partnership,” assures Ballinger.
Ballinger had graduated from the partnership, “I am a graduate of the University Partnership myself. I went through Kent State University and I graduated from there with my MBA. I know first hand the great value of what a wonderful resource it is to our community.”.
According to Ballinger, LCCC is the only community college that offers the University Partnership in all of Ohio, and it is the best value for a Bachelor’s Degree in the entire state.
“It’s really driven by the demand from our community, from students, and from employers’ needs and I think it’s just become part of the fabric,” said Ballinger.
Ballinger said the partnership would “forever intertwined because that educational continuum does not stop at the Associate’s Degree, so I see them co-existing in perpetuity.”

From a U.P. graduate 

Someone who has benefited from the University Partnership includes CEO and President of United Way of Greater Lorain County, Ryan Aroney.
When Aroney pursued his MBA, he did it through U.P. He graduated with an MBA in Business Administration, through Lake Erie College.
“It was really convenient and helpful. It was important to me that I can do something in person, I really preferred to learn that way and a lot of the options that I had would’ve been online or would involve driving a long time,” said Aroney.
“It turned out to be a great program. I just graduated in May, and already I can tell the benefits of having that in the few months since then. I have gone back and reference materials in my job.”

From Brenda Pongracz

The one responsible for its day-to-day operations is Dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities Brenda Pongracz, Ed.D.
“I oversee all the partnership agreements and make sure students have pathways to transfer both here, through the U.P. and also if they choose to transfer out and go to a different school and work with our transfer center.”
Pongracz has been with the partnership since Mar 2020. Due to the timing because of the COVID-19 lockdown, Pongracz had to adjust. “It was interesting. It was a learning curve to do all that virtually, but luckily I knew some of the Ins and outs.”
According to Pongracz, the number of enrolled students in Spring 2021 was 931 students among the University Partnership agreements. In the last graduating class of 2021, there were 365 students graduating with the partnership and the overall total number of graduates is 6870 total graduates since the start.
“Despite the pandemic, this past spring was our largest graduating class,” said Pongracz. She added, “That was a great surprise. We were very happy that students were able to persist and complete their degree, despite the hardships of having to go remote and do things differently and I’m glad they were able to accomplish that.”
Pongracz said there are more opportunities for students beyond an Associate’s Degree. “There is a real need in Lorain County for degrees beyond the Associate’s Degree. We are the only large county in Ohio that doesn’t have a public four-year institution so there really is a need within Lorain County to give people an option to complete that higher degree, and I think the University Partnership really fulfills that need.”
Pongracz said she encourages students to come to their events and meet with their partners and explore their options and not stop at the Associate’s Degree.
“There is a lot more you can do with a Bachelor’s and even more you can do with a Master’s, so I would like to encourage students to be lifelong learners and take advantage of the opportunities we offer through the University Partnership,” said Pongracz.

From Jonathan Dryden

The University Partnership falls under the preview of Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and University Partnership Jonathan Dryden, Ph.D.
“My role is to help facilitate conversations that lead to the development of partnership programs. For example, I may schedule a meeting to invite the provost of another university to come and bring his or her team with them, then we bring our team and we brainstorm what are some possibilities.”
Dryden says where there is a need in the workforce, “Where is the need for workers and people in careers that provide a good high paying career, and explore a partnership program that would lead a student to a Bachelor’s Degree that could lead them into that high paying career?” 
According to Dryden, the COVID-19 Pandemic has forced them to be creative. “It’s forced us to improve the way we deliver courses online. Ultimately that is going to benefit students even after the pandemic because we’ll be able to deliver courses in a variety of ways and make them more accessible to students who may have complicated schedules. It provides greater flexibility for students, and that’s one of the outcomes of the pandemic.”
According to Dryden, the program has helped the number of degrees given rise.
“The impact of the university partnership on the educational degree and Bachelor’s Degree attainment in the county has been significant. The educational attainment rate has risen 75% since that time, and we know that the University Partnership played a significant role in that increase.”
Dryden says it’s a very exciting time to be in this role in LCCC.
At present, the campus is partnered with 14 schools, Cleveland State University, University of Akron, Kent State University, Bowling Green State University, Ashland University, Lake Erie College, The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Ohio University, Youngstown State University, Miami University, Hiram College, Western Governors University, and the University of Toledo.
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Student Senate president juggles events, classes during the pandemic

Dylan Rice
JRNM 151

LCCC Student Senate President Zarai Aquino’s biggest challenge is “managing my classes and my job.” Aquino is majoring in Organizational Leadership at the University Partnership with Cleveland State University.
Aquino said during a telephone interview that she got “into my position the same way all senators get in. I gathered 100 signatures from students and then started to campaign.”
When asked what she does in her position, Aquino said, “As student senate president I attend council meetings. Give insight on behalf of the students. I reach out to students so they can voice their opinions, then I make a report and give it to the higher-ups.”
Aquino added, “I saw it as an opportunity to make changes.”
Aquino said that “gaining student participation during COVID-19” is another challenge. “Now that everything is online, we don’t have a student data base. Now with coronavirus everything is online, the meetings are on WebEx. We have been promoting them on our social media.”
Some of the upcoming events include a Facebook costume contest, Instagram scavenger hunt, and RealTalk meetings.

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No Welcoming Week events due to pandemic

Journalism-151

As the fall semester begins, the LCCC campus is missing many excited and eager faces as it used to seeing around this time of year. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the look of LCCC during the Welcoming Week.

No Welcoming Week festivities at College Center. Photo: Mackenzie Jonke.

“In the six years I’ve worked here, no other year has looked like this,” explained Marketplace cashier Leanne Failing. “I was aware of the changes, but having segregated entrances and your temperature taken was surprising.”

Covid-19 screening stations have been set up in select entrances to the campus. After the screening, students and faculty have to walk through connecting buildings to get to their classes.

With many classes opting for online learning and the strict precautions to provide a safe environment for students, College Center and other buildings were bare. Even with all the modifications, Failing was eager to return to the school.

“I was looking forward to coming back, but it definitely has a different vibe. I think this is just a time for us all to be patient”.

Campus Security Chief Kenneth Collins, who was working at the temperature check station in CC building on the first day back to campus, said the pandemic has left people confused on many new rules and regulations. He said there are a lot more students on campus than he expected. Many students have chosen a community college as opposed to a four-year university because of the coronavirus in an attempt to save money or preserve health.

Collins, who is also a criminal justice graduate, explained there is an influx of telephone calls his department was receiving due to most entrances being closed.

Collins said he was pleased that “everyone was pretty patient and polite” to him and to his coworkers at the screening areas.

Six feet distancing signs are posted in the bookstore. Photo: Mackenzie Jonke.

Peyton Kellick, a psychology major and a Commodore Bookstore staff, said she wasn’t sure what to expect on the first day of the class, but she was definitely excited to see people at the campus again. As she works in the bookstore, she is used to seeing a lot of foot-traffic. She said she thought a lot of people would order their books online, and she was surprised to see as many people as she did in the bookstore and it was a “pleasant surprise.”

However, the first day back was still nowhere near as busy as it was in years past.

Ana Marzan, a Student Life staff and a criminal justice major, said she also saw more people on campus than she expected to see, but the amount of people present today was nowhere near the amount of people that are usually seen roaming the CC building. In addition to there being fewer people, she said that she did not expect the temperature checks when she walked in at CC, and while she was expected to wear a mask, she said it felt “weird.”

Journalism students Taylor Anderson, Courtney Crell, Anthony LaRosa, Madison Leon, Dylan Rice, and Alyssa Watson contributed to this report.

Issue 17 levy passes regardless of covid-19 quarantine

Oscar Rosado
Editor-in-Chief

Despite social distancing and other covid-19-related restrictions, LCCC’s Issue 17 levy passed by 27,650 (59.5 percent) to 18,809 (40.5 percent) votes, according to unofficial results released by Lorain County Board of Elections on April 28.

The goal of renewing the existing 1.8 millage as well as adding a 0.5 millage won by 8,841 votes.

LCCC will receive an estimated $15.6 million per year with the passing of the levy. This levy amount will run until the next decade, lasting until 2030.

“We all won, together!”

“We all won, together,” exclaimed Vice President for Strategic and Institutional Development Tracy Green.“We are humbled by the results and by the confidence this community has and what LCCC means to the lives of the people here. Issue 17 has passed at about 60 percent and that is a phenomenal testament to how this community values higher education and the impact that LCCC is making on our community and our future.”

Won regardless of the coronavirus outbreak

Regardless of the initial setback of the election pushed from Mar. 17 due to the coronavirus outbreak, the levy has passed.

“It is absolutely remarkable, and I am so grateful for the continuation of the community’s support. It was this community that built LCCC as the first community college in Ohio in 1963,” said Green. She went on to say, “That tradition of investing in ourselves and in the best hope of our community’s future continues today. So this result just really reflects that continued commitment for our local access to affordable quality higher education and all the gratitude goes to our community. We are the community’s college and we will continue to fulfill that mission.”

Going forward with the future, Green said, “This is a ten-year renewal levy, so it keeps a foundation of support that has been part of LCCC since 1963. It is instrumental to making LCCC who we are and what we’re able to deliver to this community.”

Not a typical election

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, celebrations have been put on hold. “First and foremost is the health and safety of our community. So while prior election years when we had an issue on the ballot that has been up for renewal, we’ve had wonderful celebration times with large gatherings, but we want to protect the health and safety of our campus and our community,” said Green.

It was not a traditional celebration nor a watch-party to see results come up on April 28, according to Green. She went to say, “It was not a typical gathering, we were just watching the results come through with Lorain County Board of Elections.”

“It was a little quieter, but that doesn’t make the celebration any less enthusiastic just because we weren’t able to do it in that way. There is such sincere gratitude for the support of this community,” said Green.

Thank you to all students

Green also paid tribute to students. “Thank you to all the students. Our students are the reason why we exist and what we do every day, and it is their stories that I believe demonstrate the impact that we make,” said Green.

Green believes statistics are just half of what reflects the success of students and the college. “Certainly, percentages and numbers say one side of the story, but when you really tell the story, like the story of yourself and other students and the impact that our college was able to make on the individual lives, that is when it becomes real, and that’s when it becomes meaningful. We are grateful to our students for entrusting us with their futures and choosing us as their higher education providers.” 

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Video games promote focus on education and culture

Owen Cooper
JRNM 151

The LCCC Writing Center was the place to be,  on Wed, Nov. 17 at 3:30 p.m., as Michael Piero Ph.D., a professor at Cuyahoga Community College, and author of two books, with over a dozen peer reviewed articles and book chapters hosted the “Read, Write, Game: How Video Games Communicate Culture and Shape Our Lives” event.

Piero, who acquired his Ph.D. in English and has taught at schools such as: Notre Dame College, wanted to promote his new book “Video Game Chronotypes and Social Justice” while also informing an audience of about 40 people about how video games can shape people’s lives. Piero’s motivation to study video games “stemmed from a mixture of playing them for most of my life and meeting some game studies scholars early on in my doctoral work. I discovered that a lot of the theories and methodologies I had worked with regarding literature were relevant to the study of video games, even if those theories needed to adapt to a new medium.” Piero is also an advocator for the fact that video games are not only worthy of study but necessary to study in order to build a gaming literacy, since games are always persuasive—what exactly are they persuading us of is the interesting question, and what Piero wants to find out more about.

Keep pressing on

For now, Piero is looking to write his first novel, and has just recently received the Mandel Humanities Faculty Fellowship last year, an award given to two faculty members at Tri-C by a committee of humanities deans, scholars, and professors. Piero is also a supporter of that “With all of these things, the lesson has always been that perseverance pays off more often than not. Despite many failures, many rejections, many moments where I wanted to give up on a project, I keep going, and that’s often a large part of what it takes: pressing on, even during difficult times, and finding those who are generous enough to lend a helping hand.”

Stepping into the future with Esports

Destiny Torres
Staff Writer

The future of gaming has drastically changed in recent years. What once used to be a hobby has become a career for some as competitive gaming, or Esports as it’s typically called has raised to frame.

According to a report by newzoo.com, 728.8 million people watched Esports live streams and videos this year. The revenue for this industry has jumped up to $947 million in 2021.

Stepping into the future with competitive gaming this school year was Lorain County Community College. The new Commodores’ varsity esports team officially launched at the start of the 2021 fall semester.  

The team is coached by Evan Walker, who graduated with a bachelors in Sports Management from Baldwin Wallace in 2020.

“We currently only have a team of four players and want to grow the program,” Walker said.

Though the sport is co-ed, the team is composed of four freshman men; Avery Harssema, Gavin Lincicome, Matthew Coleman and Randy Wysocky.

The team is currently competing with Super Smash Bros. Which is a Nintendo Switch game that features multiple different characters from many different video games competitively fighting. Players compete online with other NJCAA Esports teams in a best-of-five rounds format.

The team meets every Wednesday in the Ewing Physical Education and Fitness Center and is currently awaiting their placement and seedings for a national tournament, which will be played by Randy Wysocky who finished his freshman season 8-1. The first round of playoffs was scheduled for today, Nov. 30.

“We currently only have four players and want to grow the program. Though I don’t have specifics yet, we’ll be having open tryouts sometime in January. We are looking for a few more smash players. We are limited to the Nintendo Switch games in Person, so you would need your own equipment if playing on a different console or PC,” Walker said.

Students interested in the LCCC Commodores Esports team may contact Walker at ewalker2@lorainccc.edu or watch them stream their competitions on Twitch @CommodoreEsports.

Jim Powers leads Commodore’s to regional championship

Pictured First row: Assistant Coach Vicki Guggenbiller, Alex Trendle, Ally Marszal, Katrina Lee, Grace Morris, Devin Cannon, Head Coach Jim Powers. Pictured Back Row: Caleb Cabrera, Matthew Kirsch, Devin Baumgartner, Mackenzie Deibel, Davin Catanese. Not pictured: Dominic Houdeshell. Submitted Photo.

Hayden Lowstetter
JRNM 151

Jim Powers, LCCC Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country Coach has been at the forefront leading the program since 2008. He has helped push the Commodore’s to a 26-29 win over Kellogg Community College claiming the Men’s NJCAA Region 12 Division 3 Championship. 

Powers was just teaching part time as a professor when he joined LCCC in 1988. Powers thought that teaching was “Just a job,” but soon realized he’d always find himself gravitating back to LCCC.

“All I knew when I took the job was that I wanted to work in college recreation and wanted to work with sports.” Said Powers.

Everything panned out for Powers, he’s an Associate Professor in the Health and Wellness Sciences division where he teaches classes like sports history, basketball, and stress management. On top of being an Associate Professor and cross-country coach, Powers acts as Assistant Athletic Director and Club Sports Coordinator. Some of the tasks that Powers tackles while holding those titles would be to schedule officials, schedule a game’s time and place, and work with other coaches. Powers also added that he wishes to coordinate recreation for the public community given the feedback.

What Coach Powers had deemed a “fantastic” day in Lansing, Michigan started with a hungry 12th ranked group of men and women nationally, ended with a Men’s Cross-Country NJCAA Region 12 Division 3 Championship. Powers said, the match was “very close” and that it really could have gone “either way”. The Commodore’s runners Mackenzie Deibel, finished 1st, and Caleb Cabrera, finished 2nd, really led the team off with a great start to the day with their performance. The remaining runners on the team finished 6th,8th,9th,10th, and 11th which was just enough for the Commodore’s to claim a 26-29 victory over Kellogg Community College. 

“All six runners finished with their best time of the year,” said Powers.

The Women’s Cross-Country team was also competing against Kellogg Community College on Oct. 30. While the Women’s team put up a very admirable performance, they fell just short to Kellogg with a final score of 24-33. The Commodore’s runner Devin Cannon finished 2nd all regional honors. While the rest of the Women’s team finished 4th, 6th,10th,11th.

“They all played their hearts out and competed and raced their hardest,” said Powers.

The Men’s Cross-Country team is now set to compete on Nov. 13, in Milledgeville, Georgia where they will have a chance to win nationals.

German student’s “American dream” comes true

Simić wearing German attire. Submitted Photo

Lauren Hoffman
Staff Writer

When German student Žaklina Simić was 7-years-old, she always dreamed of traveling to America. She would hear about the different happenings and always wanted to go there to experience it for herself. As she got older, Simić’s dream stayed somewhat alive as she was taught English in school along with her classmates, but the dream of America didn’t seem attainable. After completing primary and secondary school she entered into the German equivalent of real estate managing through an apprenticeship. Although Simić worked hard with three weeks of work and one week of school, still she dreamed of America.

American Dream

That was when she heard about the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program. Every year 75 young professional students from Germany get to go to the United States and stay with a host family and vice versa for Americans. There they will spend five months taking classes at a college fitting their major before going to do work in their field in January. Simić was ecstatic. She said “in Germany real estate is much broader and has a lot more to do with politics which is why I wanted this program.” She originally applied in 2019 and got accepted for the 2020 year, but it was eventually canceled due to the global pandemic. Still, the 25-year-old tried again and again until she was accepted. 

The program, which is in its 38th year, focuses on cultural exchange mainly through the exposure of cultures with a deeper meaning of participating in strengthening Germany and the United States connection. Simić said of the program, “you apply online and sign some forms and answer questions on motivation. You have to be motivated, or else you won’t get in,” Simić continued, “the real special part is the Bundestag chooses one out of the three students in their district to complete the program and you get to have a mentor from the Bundestag for it.”

After acceptance, she said that “normally you meet up at a convention center and do tasks and tests. The German students have to have English language knowledge, but the Americans do not.” When asked how she felt about learning the language, Simić replied, “I have been taught English since I was a little kid. It was not hard.” 

A trip to D.C.

The program, Cultural Vistas, has been running the CBYX student exchange for quite some time, but it is their first year being responsible for both the German and United States sides. Lorain County Community College has had students through the program in the past and is currently in its eighth year of the partnership. The internship is also fully funded besides everyday luxuries such as food and shopping. 

Besides the CBYX, Simić also applied for the Congressional Internship Program (CIP) as a way to continue her studies. She said, “five out of 75 students applied for CIP and I was one of the ones that got it.” Because of this, she will be heading to Washington D.C. in January to study under a congress member for six weeks before returning to Germany. 

A fun challenge

When discussing the opportunity, Simić was elated, “For Europeans, America is huge! This is my dream to be here and I’m more than happy and thankful to be here and able to do this with the program,” she continued, “the meaning behind it is so much bigger with this program and I am so grateful to be a part of it.” For Simić, America has been everything she’s dreamed of. “It’s so different and huge here. Distance is a whole other understanding now and time goes very fast because it’s all so exciting and new.” 

Back in her hometown in Germany, she mentioned that people tend to keep to themselves but the Midwest is very different. She said “I feel like people in the Midwest are very helpful and talkative, but it is a fun challenge.” Simić hopes to continue to enjoy America as much as she can before she heads back to Germany in August and she said she will definitely try to come back soon. 

International Education Week celebrated on campus

Students posing during the Korean games event at the College Center. Submitted Photo.

Oscar Rosado
Editor-in-Chief

On the week of Nov. 15, International Education Week took place. The week is an annual event that is hosted by the U.S. Department of state, according to Shaun Marsh Ph.D. Program Coordinator/ESL Faculty International Initiatives Member, and International Student Services. 

“Colleges around the U.S., not just LCCC, host activities to celebrate international students and international education at their institutions,” said Marsh.

Planning for the event

According to Marsh, setting the entire event for the week took two and a half months.

Marsh as well as Professor, Spanish, English as a second language, and International Initiatives team member Sharon Van Houte, spoke to many departments on how they could get involved.

The initiative spoke with the library, and they have a display of international literature and photos of the international students. 

Though the International initiative took a huge hit from COVID-19, they pushed on to make everything possible, despite not having assistants. Marsh and Houte worked together with the many departments to make the events possible.

According to Marsh, LCCC has taken on the event ever since 2000, and typically, the campus would host an international dinner for international students, but this year due to COVID-19, that hasn’t been able to happen. 

Marsh said the Student Senate has also helped in the role of setting up events for international students with the support of the international initiative. He said last year, the initiative hosted a virtual International Week via Canvas and Google Classroom, so that international partners could contribute. This year the campus was able to do things in person. Many ideas were discussed about the event.

One of these ideas was hosting a set of traditional Korean games. This year made it especially enticing due to the popularity of Netflix’s Squid Game. The show is both popular in Korea and the United States, and Marsh said they had decided to borrow that theme, yet due to copyright reasons, they could not make it into a full blown event. They gave students opportunities to try out costumes, and masks, to give people a taste of what traditional Korean games are like. 

The Events

Everyday was essentially a different activity representing a different culture. 

On Tue, Nov. 16, there were the traditional Korean Games held at the College Center.

On Wed, Nov. 17, two speakers spoke on international topics at the College Center. 

The first was author Dr. Raquel Ortiz speaking of Puerto Rican children’s literature and the lack of representation of Latin people in literature. The second was English professor Kim Karshner who spoke about the many iterations of the famous tale of Cinderella throughout multiple cultures.

On Wed, Nov. 17 there was Dr. Raquel Ortiz speaking of Puerto Rican Children’s Literature at the College Center as well as English professor Kim Karshner speaking on Cinderella stories around the world.

On Thu, Nov. 18, the campus’ Boom Radio hosted an international karaoke and Marsh led a brown bag session of Global Careers, where students could learn and prepare for and find Global and international careers in connection with career services. 

According to Marsh, last week, the NEO LaunchNET hosted their annual hackathon, but with an international theme with the international themed food trucks on campus.

Special food items served

There were international week cafeteria specials all throughout the week as well.

The marketplace also served different meals everyday. On Mon, Nov. 15 they served Middle Eastern/African food such as beef kebabs with rice and hummus. On Tue Nov 16 they served Asian foods such as sweet and sour chicken and fried rice. On Wed, Nov. 17 they served Latin American foods such as Enchiladas with refried beans and red rice. On Thu, Nov. 18 they served European foods such as chicken paprikash over spaetzle.

At Starbucks they also held different items for each day. On Monday it was Chai tea, Tuesday, any hot brewed teas, Wednesday Horchata Frappuccinos, and Thursday, London Fog Lattes, all items ten percent off.

There was a display of international literature and international student experiences at LCCC in the Library.

Hoped to be taken away

“The most important thing that I hope people take with this event is students, we need to remember that we’re in a globally connected world. Whether there’s a pandemic or not. It’s important to remember we are still connected and everything we do is somehow globally connected, whether we recognize that or are conscious of that on a daily basis or not. People should still respect, celebrate and appreciate international cultures and recognize the connections we have with people around the world,” said Marsh.

He went on to add, “the pandemic has put a damper on international travel and studies, and so I want people to be optimistic and realize it’s not the end of international communication and travel. It’s going to continue once things get better, and I hope people come out of it optimistically and have this ongoing respect and interest in studying abroad and having international students on campus and recognizing the importance of our international students and their contributions at LCCC.”

“We’re hoping to expand this each year,” said Van Houte. “As we get our students back on campus hopefully we’ll get more students back here. The more international students we have the richer we can make it. Right now we are a bit restricted.”

“We really want people to see that we’re different but we’re the same. We can have our differences, but we can still share a lot of things in common. We all like to play games and have fun. There’s different kinds of games. We all like to listen to music, but it’s good to hear different styles, and just expose our students to the richness of the world. We can sometimes be so isolated and isolated here in our little bubble, in our little lives, we have these classes, and go to work and our own little bubble that we always don’t look through and see that outside that bubble there are other things and they can be interesting and enriching and so we are hoping that people will take a way a little bit of what’s outside their little bubble.” said Van Houte.