Honoring Our Diverse Traditions: Lunar New Year and Black History Month at College of Alameda
February 2022 marked the College’s celebration of two important traditions: Lunar New Year and Black History Month. In celebration of Black History Month, I encouraged the CoA family to envision our roles as contributors to and facilitators of life-transforming education that leads to among other things, greater health and well-being of our students. This year's theme for Black History Month is "Black Health and Wellness." As a former Health Policy professor, I was always very interested in social determinants of health and health economics. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as the most recent spotlight for the widespread disparity in access to quality healthcare resulting in statistically significant poorer outcomes for Blacks and other minorities. Because higher education has been positively correlated with improved economic and health status measures, I shared the article: Racism, Inequality, and Health Care for African Americans with our College community to encourage meaningful dialogue about this topic. I believe that the work that we do every day as educators has great importance and significance. Hence, we must continue to fight the good fight for greater access to education and improved health equity.
February also marked the Lunar New Year and the year of the water tiger. The water tiger comes up every 60 years and represents strength, bravery, and clearing away evil. My message to our students, faculty, and staff encouraged embracing the beauty of our shared humanity; the strength of unifying values of love, compassion, and empathy; and the courage to face and confront evil in our communities and the world as we do the important work of transforming lives through education.
Welcome Week Returns to Campus
At the first in-person Welcome Week in two years, College of Alameda greeted students back to the spring semester in great style offering free brunch, free lunch, and a variety of engaging in-person and virtual activities. The week kicked off on Monday, January 24, 2022, with a virtual Karaoke event allowing students to showcase their prodigious vocal talents. The diverse and upbeat repertoire included songs by Vicente Fernandez in Spanish; Andrea Bocelli in Italian; and a few fun Disney favorites performed by staff and administrators who were on the Zoom call. The virtual Karaoke event was hosted by CoA’s Adelante con Comunidad, Excelencia, Sabiduría y Oportunidad (ACCESO) and Puente programs.
On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, Peralta Chancellor Dr. Jannett Jackson visited the CoA campus as we kicked off the morning activities beginning with a free brunch in the Quad area for over 150 students, faculty, and staff. Students were treated to various giveaways, a free produce market, live performances by local radio personality Chuy Gomez, and a variety of College programs offering in-person services, including UMOJA, ACCESO, Puente, Student Accessibility Services (SAS), Campus Bookstore, Library, Health Services, Career Center, and Financial Aid. CoA faculty members also participated in providing guidance and information to individual students. On Wednesday, students were treated to another free brunch and free lunches were served by Tacos Sinaloa in exchange for a meal ticket. In order to obtain a free meal ticket, students had to earn stickers from each program table that they visited. When they obtained stickers from all of the participating programs, they were able to exchange their punch card for a free meal ticket. Welcome Week activities concluded on Thursday with a virtual game of Kahoot. The event was coordinated by Director of Student Activities and Campus Life Natalie Rodriguez. Students had a great time playing the game and winning prizes. It was clear throughout the week that students, faculty, and staff exuded excitement and enthusiasm at being back on campus to celebrate the start of a new semester.
CoA Offers Free Mental Health Counseling
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges to students and educators alike. Those already coping with mental health conditions have been especially vulnerable to the changes, and we are still learning about the broad impacts.
In order to help students navigate the mental health challenges related to these difficult times, Health Services Coordinator Lisa Sawadogo is offering free remote and in-person mental health counseling appointments during the Spring 2022 Semester.
To obtain an appointment, students may either call or complete an online request.
Welcome New Staff
Mr. Dave Nguyen has joined College of Alameda as the Acting Director of Financial Aid. Dave has a wealth of knowledge in financial aid programs with over 15-years of financial aid experience previously working at Laney College, College of Alameda, and most recently as the Financial Aid Director at the Peralta Community College District Office. In his various positions, Dave has worked diligently to institute key financial aid policies ensuring regulatory compliance. In addition, he helped build and advance key student aid initiatives and programs that elevated awareness and access to student aid for our low-income and underrepresented student populations. Mr. Nguyen graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Cognitive Science and a focus in Psychology. He recently completed a Master of Science Degree in Educational Leadership from California State University, East Bay.
This article is taken from the President’s Report, written by Dr. Nathaniel Jones III, College of Alameda President, that was presented to the PCCD Board of Trustees during their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 22, 2022. To view as a pdf click here.