Marketing and Outreach Efforts Boost “Spring is Free” Enrollment Results
In an effort to promote the “Spring is Free” initiative for students enrolled in six or more units, the College of Alameda has ramped up its marketing and outreach activities. Working in collaboration with the District Public Information Office to promote Spring is Free @ PCCD, the College of Alameda launched an extensive advertising campaign in November. This campaign included display ads in the Alameda Post, radio ads on the Spotify streaming platform and KRZZ FM Spanish language station, Google search ads, and social media advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn platforms. Additional marketing efforts included Alameda Transit bus advertising, a billboard on Highway 880, a postcard mailed to all City of Alameda residents, printing and distributing Spring 2024 Class Schedules, and promotional emails sent to prospective students.
To kick off the new year, the COA Outreach team distributed printed marketing materials, including class schedules and Spring is Free Enrollment Festival flyers, to various local businesses, libraries, and Oakland and Alameda Unified School District high schools. The Spring is Free Enrollment Festival, held on Saturday, January 20, 2024, from 11 AM to 3 PM at the College of Alameda Student Services A-Building, aimed to assist students needing hands-on help completing their application and enrollment processes.
These enhanced marketing and outreach efforts have yielded positive and measurable results. A recent Google Analytics report revealed that over 44,000 new users visited the College's website in the past 90 days, with a significant portion of this traffic (over 9,600 individuals) originating from the City of Alameda. Furthermore, these proactive and robust strategies have led to significant year-to-year improvements in both the numbers of students enrolling at COA and residential and total FTES. Promotions will continue throughout the semester to attract new and continuing students to the College's popular three-week online Spring Intersession, as well as the eight-, ten-, and 14-week late-starting cohorts.
Asian Health Services and College of Alameda Strengthen Partnership
A significant community meeting took place in November 2023 to foster collaboration and strengthen the partnership between Asian Health Services and College of Alameda. In attendance at the event were key representatives from healthcare, local government, and higher education.
The photo above captures the momentous occasion and features participants (from the left): Jennifer Ott, Alameda City Manager, Carla Pegues, COA Dental Assisting Faculty and Chair, Dr. Thu Quach, President of Asian Health Services, Dr. Diana Bajrami, Acting President of COA, the Honorable Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, City of Alameda, Julia Liou, Asian Health Clinic CEO, Dr. Eva Denise Jennings, COA Career Education Dean, and Dr. Huong Le, Chief Dental Officer for Asian Health Services.
The group focused on how to fortify the existing partnership, formalize relationships, and create avenues for employment opportunities for College of Alameda Dental Assisting students. Currently, the Asian Health Clinic extends its services to both Alameda residents and COA students, emphasizing inclusivity by providing health, social, and advocacy services to all, regardless of income, insurance status, immigration status, language, or culture. The overarching goal of this initiative will be to establish an enduring partnership that serves the community’s needs and aligns healthcare and education services for a brighter and healthier future for our community.
New Mental Health Navigator Services Launched at COA
In a recent statewide study on student mental health, findings revealed that more than 63% of students reported experiencing emotional meltdowns, while 45% reported feelings of depression. Additionally, over half of the students expressed the need for mental health services in both survey years. Notably, more than 22% of students desired mental health services for the first time, underscoring the ongoing importance of accessible support for students' well-being.
In order to enhance support services for students in need, the COA Wellness Team launched a new Mental Health Navigator service in Fall Semester 2023. The student mental health navigator initiative aims to assist students in transitioning seamlessly from on-campus mental health services to community-based alternatives, as well as connecting students with off-campus mental health services and other essential resources in Alameda County.
As part of this innovative new program, COA added two Student Mental Health Navigators (SMHN) to its Mental Health team. Student Amanda Bechtold is currently majoring in psychology and aspires to become a practicing psychologist. Chantrea Sngoun is an art student who is interested in helping other students access mental health services.
Toy Drive Ends the Year with Gifts for Children and Good Cheer
College of Alameda welcomed faculty, staff, students, and community members to join in the festive spirit and contribute to the annual Adopt a Family Toy Drive / End of the Year Holiday Party. In a heartwarming display of generosity, students, faculty, and staff came together to donate dozens of toys, illuminating the holiday season for families in our community. Notably, representatives from the Alameda Housing Authority, Alameda Firefighters, and Project Rebound from CSU San Francisco joined the initiative, spreading goodwill to all. Adding to the merriment, the event featured an exciting Ugly Sweater Contest, where COA Counselor Julie Saechao emerged victorious, claiming the first-place prize. The festive atmosphere and camaraderie made this Toy Drive a truly memorable way to conclude the year, bringing smiles to both givers and receivers alike.
COA Professor Glen L. Pearson Receives Grammy Nomination
The 66th Annual Grammy Nominations have been announced, and COA’s wonderfully gifted Music Professor and Pianist Glen L. Pearson has received a well-deserved nomination as part of The Count Basie Orchestra, directed by Scotty Barnhart, for their latest album “Basie Swings the Blues.” This marks the band's second Grammy nomination, a testament to their remarkable talent and dedication to the art of music. The 66th Annual Grammy Awards Ceremony broadcast live on February 4, 2024, starting at 5 PM PST on CBS Television.
Seasonal Joy Shared Through Chicken Dinners at COA Market!
Navigating the high cost of living in the Bay Area presents significant challenges for our students, affecting their ability to afford essential necessities such as housing, utilities, and transportation. Shockingly, according to the Alameda County Community Food Bank, one in four Alameda County residents is currently experiencing or at risk of hunger. This sobering statistic underscores the pressing need for on-campus initiatives to address food insecurity among our students. Additionally, food insecurity during the holiday season compounds hardships for all those affected.
To help address this issue, the COA Basic Needs program, seized two wonderful opportunities to spread holiday cheer. Here's a breakdown of the details:
- November 14th at The Market: A total of 84 frozen chickens were distributed, accompanied by delicious holiday side dishes such as stuffing mix, instant mashed potatoes, canned corn, and cranberry sauce.
- December 12th at The Market: Another 70 frozen chickens were shared, this time paired with stuffing mix and canned green beans. Notably, during the December 12th market, over 25% of these chicken dinners and sides were sent to the Aviation facility, ensuring that Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) students could fully partake in the seasonal benefits.
Between these two events, the College successfully served nearly 200 students, making the holiday season brighter for students and their families.
On an ongoing basis, the College also provides students with a wide selection of free produce items and grocery staples twice monthly at The Market and free weekly lunches every Tuesday. COA’s Tasty Tuesdays also connects students to other free resources and activities on campus.
This article is an excerpt from the President’s Report, written by Dr. Diana Bajrami, College of Alameda Acting President, that was presented to the PCCD Board of Trustees during their regular meeting on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. To view it as a PDF, click here.