A Student Publication of Lorain County Community College

College combats food wastefulness

Zach Srnis Special Correspondent Food waste is food that goes uneaten and is discarded. Roughly 40 percent of all food in the United States never makes it to a plate before it is tossed, according to a Feb. 2015 article…

Ex-inmates face education struggles

Kristin Hohman Editor-in-Chief Formerly incarcerated inmates face many obstacles in completing secondary education. Yet LCCC give them a second chance. A student’s education can be a pathway to new experiences and opportunities. Yet for those seeking secondary education, a criminal…

Lady Commodores suffer loss to Lakeland

Mark Perez-Krywany

Staff Writer

Lorain County Community College women’s basketball team lost to Lakeland Community College during over time synching the at 68-65.

“When you coach for coach for 27 years, you are going to get games like this,” said Vince Granito, the LCCC head coach. LCCC is now 2-24 and Lakeland is 5-16 on the season

“There were several people who had tears in their eyes in the locker room afterwards,” said Granito. “That shows you how much they really care and how they really invested in this game.”

In the fourth quarter, the Lakers’ Alicia Sephus made a layup with four seconds left after a turnover was committed by Commodores’ Rachel Downing.

Throughout the course of the game, the Commodores were able to get steals, but struggled to finish on the offensive end. When asked Granito believed the game could have ended differently if the Commodores had not struggled at the end.

“Yeah, probably. One of the things is that when we say ‘let’s get out and run a little bit,’ which I think we could with this team, because they (Lakeland) looked tired,” said Granito. “There were a couple of times where I think we pushed it, (the pace) when I think we shouldn’t have,” said Granito.

He referred to Madi Bonner’s missed 3-point shot late in overtime with time left on the shot clock while the team is up by five. “We probably should have pulled that back and run the clock off a little bit,” said Granito.

Bonner finished the game with 20 points, four steals and three steals. Downing secured eight points, five rebounds, five steals, and four steals. Heather Smyth finished the game with a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.

Their next home game is going to be the final home game of the regular season and will be against Hocking College on Feb. 25 at 1:00 p.m.


Ex-inmates face education struggles

Kristin Hohman


Formerly incarcerated inmates face many obstacles in completing secondary education.
Yet LCCC give them a second chance.

A student’s education can be a pathway to new experiences and opportunities. Yet for those seeking secondary education, a criminal record can create significant barriers to a degree or future career.

Lorain County Community College’s Men’s Head Basketball Coach Marty Eggleston has over 18 years of experience working closely with programs that mentor and educate inmates. Eggleston is the program coordinator and manager of Positive Reentry for Ohio Prisoners (PROP), a second chance program that gives current and former inmates the opportunity to better themselves through education.

“I truly believe that education has a medicinal value,” Eggleston said. “Inmates who earn a two-year college degree or higher are 70 percent less likely to go back to prison than those who did not complete a program.”

PROP works with inmates by offering them the opportunity to take courses while they are still incarcerated. These course are offered by several area schools like LCCC and Lorain County Joint Vocational School (JVS). Upon being released, the former inmates can then continue their coursework at that institution.

As of 2014, the state of Ohio’s recidivism (a former inmate’s probability of relapsing and being re-institutionalized over a three year period) rate is 27.1 percent among inmates released in 2010, according the the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC). This marks a significant decrease since 2000, when the recidivism rate was 39 percent.

Educational programs and courses like PROP are instrumental in the fight to keep inmates from repeating crimes and landing themselves back in jail.

Eggleston also works as a PROP instructor at the Lorain Correctional Institution (LCI) in Grafton, OH. Kim Clipper, who serves as warden for the facilities, has worked closely with Eggleston and LCCC’s president Marcia Ballinger.

“During class time, violence is down in the institution,” Clipper said of the atmospheric changes she has witnessed since PROP classes began at LCI. “Inmate idleness leads to increased violence,” Clipper added. “Having them active makes for a calmer institution.”

Programs like PROP are important, according to one LCCC student with a criminal record who wished to remain anonymous.

“Former inmates don’t have as many opportunities as someone without a criminal record,” he said. “The PROP program gives someone with no options, the option to better themselves.”

These programs give inmates something positive to do for themselves, the student added.

Classes and opportunities for inmates have become more pertinent, as the number of Americans with a criminal background has risen sharply over the last three decades, according a 2015 study by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. Nearly one third of the adult population of working age has a criminal record, the study found. America houses roughly the same number of citizens with a criminal record as it does people with a 4-year college degree, the Brennan Center also found. This means that if all of the arrested Americans were their own separate nation, it would be the world’s 18th largest country, roughly three times larger than Australia.

The difficulties that formerly incarcerated inmates have can be cyclical in nature. A considerable number of employers perform criminal background checks on applicants, which makes it even more challenging for those individuals to find employment and a steady source of income. Several states have elected to ‘ban the box’ on employment application forms, however Ohio is not among them.

About 86 percent of human resource managers perform background checks on nearly every applicant, while 69 percent perform a background check on every applicant, according to a 2012 survey by the Society of Human Resource Management.

Additionally, in 2009, the United States Department of Justice found that a past criminal conviction of any kind can reduce the likelihood of a job offer by 50%. Circumstances like these can lead to individuals turning back to crime as a means to survive, becoming re-offenders in the process.

“Offenders are eventually going to return to our communities,” Clipper said. “The more programs we can provide to them in the institution, the sooner we could reach our mission.”

The hope is to see a change in behavior once their sentence is over, according to Clipper. “[I hope] they have a change in thought and will be productive citizens when they go back out into our communities,” she said.

Students with a criminal past do have a way forward. At LCCC, these students are paired with their own academic advisor, Julie Ford, who is the Second Chance program advisor on campus. There are several other things students need to be aware of regarding their criminal records. It is important to be familiar with what is on your criminal record and what barriers it may create, according to the Ohio Justice and Policy Center (OJPC). Becoming familiar with what may show during a criminal background check can be very helpful. Record sealing is another option, according to the OJPC. This would allow an individual to check the ‘no’ box when asked if they have criminal convictions while applying for employment. For more information on sealing criminal records, and other useful information, visit ohiojpc.org. Being aware of how a criminal record can affect financial aid is extremely important as well. More information regarding financial aid can be found at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/aid-info-for-incarcerated-individuals.pdf.

If any students have a criminal record or are interested in PROP, contact Julie Ford at 440-366-7664 or Marty Eggleston by emailing meggleston@lorainccc.edu. Students can also fill out an information request form by visiting lorainccc.edu/Current+Students/Second+Chance.htm.


Avianna Velez contributed to this story.

Campus observes Black History Month

Gilbert “Heebeto” Garcia | The Collegian
The LCCC campus community celebrated Black History Month on Feb. 15. The event included performances from a variety of cultural performers, speaks, and music.

Gilbert “Heebeto” Garcia | The CollegianMembers of the African dance group, “How Excellent”, perform a traditional African dance during the Black History Month celebration.

Photo submitted by Ron Jantz 
Crystalbel Iwuagwu, who sells African designs, speaks to the crowd during the Black History Month Celebration.

Danthea Redwood | The Collegian
Barbara Bennett, Shenee King, Astu Camara, and Sharron Fox, members of the African dance group “How Excellent”, perform on Feb. 15.

Danthea Redwood | The CollegianLCCC students Divante Hold and Keon Nealy, members of The Heritage Steppers, begin their routine in the College Center commons on Feb. 15.

Valentine’s Day recollections

Students recall their personal experiences of Valentine’s Day dates that have gone wrong, or went perfectly right.

The romantic holiday undeniably comes with expectations. Some couples meet them, others do not. Does this mean the holiday is lost? Better luck next year? Not too long ago, I asked myself these questions. Cleveland was a cold, unfamiliar city. I was alone.

When one of my favorite artists announced they would be visiting, I had to make a decision: awkwardly mingle with couples celebrating over music or put on my yoga pants, order a pizza, and stay home.

I chose the music. I braved the overwhelming crowds of two. I made my way to the front of the venue and befriended the kids dancing there. I laughed loudly and sang even louder. It was a nice night, even for a girl flying solo.

Before I left, one of my new friends shimmied toward me. She grinned and announced my fate, “You will meet someone. Soon. I know it!” I laughed, warmed by her concern, but completely aware of the pity.

Though, days later, I did. A classmate and I discussed music, including the recent concert I attended. We have spent the past three Valentine’s Days together. Though the holiday might seem silly, with its unknown origins and increasingly commercial content, it is absolutely worth it. It is a day full of surprise. It is a day of chance. Most importantly, it is a day of love, whether for one’s self, music, or another.

-Kayla Petro

In the fall of 2015, a friend of mine was pressured into going on the most awkward date of her life.

“I had sort of blocked it from my memory,” she recalled.

“Jane” had not wanted to go, but a mutual friend of hers and “Tim”, the gentleman who asked her, forced her to accept.

Jane and Tim agreed to have dinner at The Black River Café, in Oberlin. During the meal, Tim talked about running, a topic Jane was not as interested in. “I knew he was into running,” she said, “but I didn’t understand the depth.” Tim talked nonstop about his mileage and other intricacies of cross-country running. Jane said very little.

Things got worse for Jane when Tim moved the conversation to a different topic.

“He spent fifteen minutes talking about cheese,” Jane said. “I was just nodding the whole time.” Tim was talking specifically about the cheeses of Norway, and how the brown cheese is much better than the white cheese. “At one point he said he could probably eat fourteen pounds of the brown cheese,” Jane remembered.

Later in the meal, Jane realized how little they actually had in common. “The only common ground between us was that we had both seen the same Youtube video,” she said. While Tim had loved the video, Jane had not liked it as much. After that, Tim talked more about running.

After dinner, Tim asked Jane if she would like to go on a “long walk” with him. Jane declined because she was cold and hungry, seeing as she ordered the smallest and cheapest thing on the menu. “I told him I had to ‘go do something,’” Jane said, “and then I walked to my friend’s house and ate macaroni and cheese.”

-Maeve Denneen

One of my most memorable Valentine’s Day includes a late dinner, a blizzard and the television show “Forensic Files” – not exactly ideal plans when trying to impress your sweetheart.

It was February of 2015 and the days leading up to Valentine’s Day found nothing but booked restaurants and dead ends. On Feb. 13, an open reservation time was gifted to me from out of the blue at a lovely little Italian restaurant. Nothing like cutting it close. The only issue, the reservation was an 8:30 p.m. time slot, which makes for quite a late dinner.

Feb. 14, the day had finally arrived and I made my way over in a light snowfall to my girlfriend’s apartment, candy and flowers in hand. This was at 4:00 p.m., four and half hours before our dinner reservation. The snow started to fall even harder until it turned into a full blown blizzard. Having hours to kill before dinner, and a limited amount of television channels to watch, we settled on “Forensic Files” to fill the void. Now nothing says romance quite like a show about solving years-old murders through science.

As we sat on the couch killing time, the snow kept falling and our ability to make it to our dinner plans started to look bleak. Despite the pounding snow and questionable road conditions, we got in the car and started to make our way to dinner. We arrived safely, despite a multiplied travel time, took our seats and enjoyed dinner as well as each other’s company. Another long trip back home through the snow, followed by a kiss goodnight and my own solo journey to my house through the elements, our Valentine’s Day was over.

A little over two years later, I asked that girl to marry me and she said yes. It just proves that even though a Valentine’s Day is not flawless, the person you spend it with, no matter how it is spent, is what matters most.

-Zac Wenzel

I had been dating my boyfriend for a few months and Valentine’s day had finally arrived. I was so excited because he was taking me to an expensive, fancy, Italian restaurant where he worked. My favorite food is seafood, so I was very excited to eat. This was my chance to order a delicious, mouthwatering seafood dish.

The morning of Valentine’s day, I was sitting with my mom on the couch. I went on the restaurant’s website to view the menu to begin deciding what I was going to order ahead of time. I am so indecisive and I wanted to make sure I was ordering the best seafood dish. I narrowed it down to two dishes. My mouth was watering just thinking about the exquisite dinner I was going to enjoy.

I picked out my fanciest outfit and got ready for the night. As soon as I was ready, my boyfriend came and picked me up in his red Mustang. My mouth was still watering just thinking about the seafood I was going to order.

As we were arriving closer to the restaurant, my boyfriend looked at me and said, “This place is so expensive, we can just share a pizza right?” WHAT!

I tried not to laugh. I wanted my seafood dish! I did not know how to react. I just glared at him and said “Yeah…that’s fine.”

As we sat down, a waiter came up to me with a rose. I was so happy to see that my boyfriend had the waiter bring me a rose…or, so I thought. I looked at my boyfriend and smiled.

“Hmm. That’s weird. I didn’t set that up,” said my boyfriend.

Strike two. I was truly shocked. How could he? He should have just gone along with it! The night was getting worse and worse.

Finally, the waiter asked us what we were ordering. “One small pizza,” said my boyfriend. “What kind of pizza?” asked the waiter. I saw that “seafood pizza” was one of the options on the menu. “Seafood!” I said with excitement. My boyfriend ordered the seafood pizza. I must say, it was probably the best kind of pizza I had ever had. However, it was not how I expected my first Valentine’s day date to go. This is what happens when you have a passion for seafood and date someone who is not quite the spender. 

-Madison Tromler


Valentine’s Day is a special day for many people as they spend time with those they care for. However, for those who do not do much of anything on this special day it can be pretty boring. If you’re looking for an interesting and worldwide event to participate in on Valentine’s Day, than One Billion Rising is the thing for you. One Billion Rising is the largest mass action event in human history. It stands up against violence against women.

This event takes place all around the globe, in over two hundred countries. Whether you go to an event nearby, or create your own, you can be proud that you are helping take a stand. People all around the globe march, dance, and stand for injustice. This event takes place every year on February 14th. This revolution wants to end violence. The world population is seven billion, and statistically one in three women will be beaten or raped, it adds up to over one billion women. Thus, the goal of the event is to have one billion people rising to action.

Last year, my high school hosted a march as a way to participate in this event. We marched from the school down to the square and back while we played music and chanted. I event wrote an article about it in the school newspaper. “One Billion Rising. Elyria High is rising!” students chanted, along with “What do you we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” Beforehand, I helped to make posters to hang up around the school and signs to carry during the march. As someone who doesn’t do much for Valentine’s Day, it was a great way to spend my day.

-Ashley Moen



Breaking up is hard to do

Danthea Redwood

Special Correspondent

With Valentine’s Day approaching, the stigma that people have to be in relationships arrives with it. According to a study from The Date Report, 85 percent of relationships end in breakups and 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.

Katie Tormas, an early childhood education major at Lorain County Community College, has been broken up with over a text.

“I cried to my mom,” said Torma, “It sucks but you’ll get through it.”

Breaking up with someone over text is viewed as socially unacceptable when compared to breaking up with someone in person.

“Nowadays it’s like social media is how everybody has conversations anyway, so being broken up with over text isn’t that big of a deal to me,” said LCCC journalism student Alexa Tucker.

48 percent of males and 47 percent of females have removed an ex from their phone contacts. Accordingly, 29 percent of of males and 32 percent of females have blocked a previous partner from texting them, per the Pew Research Center.

According to the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of young adults with relationship experience have broken up with someone in person and 47 percent of been broken up with through an in person discussion.

“I would say face-to-face over lunch would be a good way to breakup with someone,” said Tucker.

Just like the variety of ways people break up with each other, coping with a breakup can present itself in diverse ways.

“If I break up with someone I’ll go talk to five or six other girls,” said LCCC engineering major William White, “The whole break up thing is just you trying to get your attention off of them, focus on yourself.”

Clayton Jones, an LCCC exercise science major, suggested not dwelling on the relationship.

“If the relationship lasted less than a month or two, have a short memory. Don’t really sink too long because then it just kind of overwhelms you,” said Jones. “Friends are a good resource to help cope with breakups.”

According to a survey of 1000 people done by online magazine YourTango.com, 71 percent of people say they think about their ex too much.

The U.S. Census Bureau has found that 44 percent of American adults are single.

“Follow your instincts on a first date. If you feel like something’s off there’s probably something off,” said student at LCCC Alexandra Sauer, “Never go to someone’s house alone, at least without someone knowing you’re going there.”

“A lot of people carry their stuff from previous relationships into something new, so now they’ll have preconceived notions,” explained LCCC student Gami Torres, “My biggest advice for any situation whether it’s dating or just meeting new people is to be true to yourself,” he said. “Don’t try to change things until the situation presents itself to change yourself.”

“Do things that make you happy and surround yourself with activities and people that you like,” said Tucker. “Focus on tasks rather than the pain.”


Online dating: A surprise behind every profile

Danthea Redwood

Special Correspondent

Kent Springborn Jr.

Staff Writer

Like a Box of Chocolates

“If you’re in a relationship or trying to date someone you want to put out the full first of who you are at the beginning and then let them make their decisions on you as it goes,” said Lorain County Community College student Gami Torres, “Especially with online dating, people like to embellish themselves a lot.”

According to the Pew Research Center, online dating is most common among Americans in their 20’s through their mid-40’s. In 2015, more than 40 percent of Americans  and 27 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 years old report using online dating sites, up from 10 percent in 2013.

“I’ve found out that it’s easier to communicate with other people when you’re behind a medium,” said Torres, “I’m not going to say that you’re hiding behind something, but it’s like that.”

“If I want to get your attention instead of going up to your table and talking to you I’ll say ‘Oh she has a Plenty of Fish account I’m going to send her a message,’” Torres explained.

According to the Pew Research Center, about one-in-five 18 to 24 year olds now report using mobile dating apps. While the stigma towards online dating has lowered, mobile dating apps like Tinder have received a negative view from many people.

“Some people are online for serious purposes, but most of the people are just there for hookups,” said LCCC student Katie Torma, an early childhood education major.

“I don’t like going off of first judgement and if people don’t have much in their profile it feels like a waste of time,” said LCCC student Alexandra Sauer on Tinder.

5 percent of Americans who are in a marriage or committed relationship say they met their significant other online. Torres found someone someone that he was in a relationship for over a year and Torma met her previous partner online and they dated for five years.

“You never know what you’re really going to get,” said Torres.

Proceed with Caution

Kei Graves, a student success coach and one of the founding members of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Equity Committee on campus, identifies as queer or non-binary and has used online dating. Graves found his spouse of six and a half years by using online dating.

“I’m a success story,” he said, “We started off as friends and it turned into something else. It worked out really well for me.”

Graves feels that it is harder for members of the LGBTQ community to find someone through the use of online dating. He feels that there are more complications or considerations in trying to find someone of similar interest.

In general, online dating can have its pros and cons. You get a preview of what the person is like before you contact them. It also can make it easier to strike up a conversation with someone.

However, you could also end up meeting people who have other ideas of it is that you both want and being different than what their profiles say. You also run the risk of receiving some unwanted messages from people.

Graves does warn that people should be cautious when dating online. He also suggests that they should meet in public or take a friend with them.

“Be cautious about getting to know that person,” Graves said.

Overall, Graves believes that the biggest thing is to try not being focused on finding “the one” when exploring the world of online dating.

Stocker Art Gallery

Local high school artists showcased

Photos and story by Logan Mencke 

Staff Writer

Julia RaddenVermilion High School

Just a Little More Time

Mixed MediaDana TownsendOberlin High School

You Were the Sunshine in My Chaos

PaintingAlexandra Valasquez Open Door Christian School

 Neighborhood Sunset


Beth Ziegelmeyer Elyria Catholic High School

 Uncage the Night


Beginning on Jan. 17, the Beth K. Stocker Art Gallery was filled with artwork from

the Lorain County Regional Scholastic Art Exhibition. The pieces were submitted by students from area high schools. The artwork includes paintings, photographs, sculptures and mixed media.

The showcase is open Monday-Friday, 10:30 a. m. to 2:30 p. m. and Sunday from  Evening hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5: 00 p. m. to 7:00 p.m.

Elena Smith Open Door Christian School

 Crazy Owl


High achieving faculty prefer LCCC

Madison Tromler

JRNM 151 student

After attending Harvard and teaching at the university for seven years,  and then working for the Cleveland Clinic for six years, Harry Kestler, Ph.D., chose to teach at Lorain County Community College.

“It’s been the dream job of my life, and I mean it,” said Kestler.

Submitted photo
Dr. Harry Kestler, who teaches microbiology, has students who are studying HIV.

Kestler, who teaches microbiology, has been researching HIV for decades and feels that he can truly make a difference at LCCC.

“If I help a student at Harvard, that’s great; he’s going to be successful anyway,” Kestler said. “I can provide opportunities for students here that usually don’t exist at a community college.”

Kestler explained that LCCC college and high school students are doing research on HIV, a rare opportunity for many students, especially on a community college campus.

“This opportunity doesn’t exist anywhere in the world,” Kestler said. “We are doing university research at LCCC.” People are usually blown away when they discover that his students are studying HIV, he added.

“My job is so satisfying,” said Kestler. “I love working with community college students because I make a difference and I have the opportunity to help someone who would benefit from my assistance.”

Another member of LCCC’s faculty, Bruce Weigl is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and creative writing professor.

Submitted photo
LCCC instructor Bruce Weigl is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist.

“I can do a lot more for LCCC than at a university,” said Weigl, who has also taught at Penn State University and Case Western Reserve University, but chose LCCC. “I know when I walk into class each semester, I’m going to have a handful of talented students,” Weigl said.

He has seen students from LCCC transfer to some of the best writing programs in the country.

Weigl’s mother was diagnosed with dementia,which led him to leave Penn State 16 years ago. He decided to continue his career at LCCC, which he genuinely loves.

The main difference between working at a community college and a university is the amount of teaching, according to Weigl. Professors teach more at a community college and focus more on research at a university.

“We have an outstanding faculty at LCCC,” Weigl said. “They love teaching. It doesn’t mean they don’t have the option to teach wherever they want.” he continued. “Students here don’t always have the opportunity to work with a writer, so I’m going to give them that opportunity.”

One of Weigl’s students told him that her friend, who attends Ohio State University, asked her to transfer to a school that has “real teachers.” 

“I said to her, ‘Tell your friend to ask her English teacher how many books he’s published.’” Weigl’s student later reported that her friend’s English teacher hasn’t published any books.

“Well, I’ve published 25,” Weigl said. “Who’s getting the better deal?” he asked.

Amy Keller, Communications/Public Speaking professor, said she loves the non-traditional students at LCCC. She enjoys the age difference because she loves seeing the responsibility students portray, as well as more concern they have toward their academics. Keller also feels that students at LCCC are more diverse.

The primary reason that community colleges have grown so much in popularity is because, by and large, they have significantly improved academic standards over the last 15 to 20 years, according to educationcorner.com. Dozens of studies have shown that students transferring from a community college outperform their university counterparts, according to the website.

Out of Ohio’s 23 community colleges, LCCC transfer students outperform the graduation rate of all other 22 schools, according to the LCCC Department of Institutional Planning and Effeteness. “This speaks volumes about our faculty and demonstrates that they teach here because they are so committed to our students’ success,” said LCCC president, Dr. Marcia Ballinger.

Before becoming president, Ballinger served as vice president and provost. One of her responsibilities was hiring faculty to ensure the success of LCCC students.

“Our faculty truly optimize in my view, the best of the best. They are world class and it shows. It shows in how well our students perform,” said Ballinger.

Ballinger had interviewed numerous faculty applicants for full-time faculty or new positions over the past five years.

“It is always the case that we have an extraordinary number of individuals applying to become our faculty here. In that process, we specifically ask them as part of their teaching philosophy, why they would like to teach at LCCC? How do their passions and goals tie into teaching at LCCC and community colleges in general?”

Ballinger explained hat the screening and hiring process committees are comprised of LCCC’s faculty. Faculty peers are the ones who are helping to find the best new faculty candidates.

“Our process includes teaching demonstrations, so that our faculty is able to evaluate how that individual would connect and engage with students,” Ballinger said. “As we hire faculty, part of our promotion policy really imbeds a lot of expectations. We are truly committed to professional development.”

Ballinger said that many faculty members have attended LCCC, graduated from LCCC, or attended another community college as students at some point.
“They use their strong foundation and base of having been a student here at one time. They truly embrace the full community college mission. Part of their philosophy is giving back and being able to directly impact students’ lives through education,” said Ballinger. “We have been extremely focused on that since the time that this college was created.”


Commodore Cupboard supplies students in need

Renee McAdow

Staff Writer

Lorain County Community College has several programs that are set up to help students in need. The Commodore Cupboard is one such program that ensures that students in need of assistance regarding the ability to afford food for themselves.

“The mission of the Commodore Cupboard is to ensure that students who may be struggling with food insecurity have access to healthy meals. What we know from research is that it is very challenging for hungry students to do well in class,  said Kei Graves, a student success coach and adjunct faculty on campus. “We want to ensure that none of our students are going hungry and that we are providing them with the ability to have food access. The pantry also serves a purpose as an opportunity for service learning through classes on campus and volunteer opportunities for students, faculty, and staff,” Graves explained.

Students are encouraged to get themselves involved with the pantry,  which is operated by student-staff.

“We are definitely looking to have volunteers come and assist, whether that is taking a shift at the Cupboard, helping organize the donations and sort through them, or helping to organize a food drive on campus,” said Graves.

The Commodore Cupboard is open the first, and third Mondays of each month from 4-6 p.m., the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 4-6 p.m., the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 1-3 p.m., and the first and third Thursdays of each month from 3-5 p.m.

“The food that we receive is donated from people on and off campus, Graves said. “More recently, Staff Council hosted an event that resulted in several boxes of donated food and personal care items. We have had other campus entities, like Student Life, Women’s and Men’s Link, and Divisions sponsor a drive or bring in donations. We also have some available funds to purchase food or personal care items when we are running low and do not have donations available,” said Graves

Commodore Cupboard has guidelines on the type of donations that are able to receive. Non-damaged containers and non-perishable items are all they can currently accept. Anything that requires refrigeration and expired canned goods are not acceptable. If an item does not meet the criteria, it is not made available to students.

“Students can utilize the Cupboard once per week when we are open, they just need to bring a student ID to the Cupboard and fill out the First-Time Applicant form. Once they do that, they can just show their ID when they come to the Cupboard to receive food,” said Graves.

If students have any questions about the Cupboard, they are encouraged to contact the pantry at commodorecupboard@lorainccc.edu or by phone: 440-366-4103.

New possibilities come with Fab Lab expansion

Zach Srnis

Special Correspondent


New changes are coming to the Fabrications Lab at Lorain County Community College. The Fab Lab provides accessibility to machines that allow for projects that individuals would not be able to do otherwise. The new changes will seek to improve all aspects of the lab and enhance the learning experience.

“The biggest change is that it is going to be larger,” said Timothy Bruening, an LCCC professor that teaches in the Fab Lab. “The new lab will have enhanced audio and computer that will allow for more possibilities.”

The updated Fab Lab will also include a second room that will be attached to the main room.

“We call it ‘messy’ fab,” said Bruening. “We wanted a room that we can work on the wood-cutting projects, but we do not want the dust getting on the computers. I am glad we are able to have a separate room for such projects.”

Bruening also explained some of the new equipment that will be featured in the lab.

“We are going to add a laser vinyl cutter and a new CNC router,” said Bruening. “It all about getting the best equipment we can for the students.”

Scott Zitek, the coordinator of the Fab Lab, stated the significance of the extra space.

“We wanted to include as many students as we could,” said Zitek. “The new lab will allow us to support 16 students. The new lab will have a lot more space and more students will be able to be part of the experience.”

Zitek added that the new Fab Lab will be more accessible.

“There will be a new entrance and a collapsable wall,” said Zitek. “It will be more inviting and will make the lab more accessible to students. People won’t walk in feeling that they are intruding on a class. It will feel more like the library,” Zitek explained.

The extra space will allow for the new machinery, Zitek said.

“The CNC router that was added will allow for many new projects,” said Zitek. “It cost over $30,000 and we now have two of them in the lab. This will allow us to do more projects that take some time to make. This includes things like furniture and cabinets.”

The remodeling of the lab has made new classes available to students, too.

“We will offer intro classes that will teach students how to use the equipment,” said Zitek. “We will also offer two-year in digital fabrication.”

There were several major expenses involved in the project, according to Laura Carissimi, the director of purchasing and financial planning,.

“We had a $2 million grant from the state and we matched that with our own $2 million,” said Carissimi. “We also received $750,000 from the foundation that we used for purchasing new equipment.”

Carissimi explained how the project also increased the size of the building itself.

“We increased the Fab Lab by about a third,” said Carissimi. “There will be a new area that is well vented for working with fiberglass.”

This undertaking has combined the work of several departments, including the Unity Lab on campus. Carissimi added that the Mac Lab will be located in  PC208 during the construction and that the final parts of the construction are waiting to be approved by the Board of Trustees during their April 20 meeting.