Laney College President's Report – July 26, 2022

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Laney Launches Fall is Free Campaign to Cover Most College Costs

On July 12, Laney College officially launched its Fall is Free campaign, which covers the cost of tuition, textbooks, bus passes, WiFi hot spots, lunch, and more for students who complete their FAFSA application for financial aid.

With the collaboration of many at Laney, planning, preparations and marketing are in full swing. Mailers have been disseminated throughout Oakland, along with ads on 6 billboards, BART, radio, along with some ads on social media, all of this coming thanks to the work of Laney PIO Larena Baldazo. The brand-new Fall is Free landing page on the web received over 6,500 hits within the first week. While the paid promotion has been well received, Laney's earned media poses a great strength for this campaign, and as of July 21, enrollment had increased by roughly 1400 seats.

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The Fall is Free campaign has generated media attention, beginning with a press release prepared by Professor Eleni Gastis, written and shared by Larena Baldazo and Mark Johnson. The release appeared on many outlets, including the S.F. Chronicle, Univision, KQED, 106.9 KCBS, 106.1 KMEL, WILD 94.9, Yahoo News, Ed Source, and KTVU. Most notably, Fall is Free was spotlighted with a live, in-studio feature on KTVU's The Nine morning show. During this Bay-wide appearance, KTVU Anchor Andre Senior spoke to Vice President of Student Services, Dr. Marlon Hall, Larena Baldazo, and Laney alumnus Ryan Barba, who also shared his experience as a successful Laney College transfer student. Watch the interview here.

The Laney Community now looks forward to welcoming students at Info Sessions on August 10, 11, 12, 15, and 16 to walk students through the FAFSA and California Dream act applications, along with every other task that must be completed prior to starting class on August 22.


Laney Hosts “Let's Talk Tiny! Tiny Homes & Alternative Housing” Panel

The women and gender-expansive students and staff at Laney College's Carpentry Department hosted an open house and panel discussion on July 21. The panel highlighted the impacts women have within construction trades and how they create affordable living spaces. Attendees had the chance to learn about Laney's Career and Technical Education (CTE) departments, including its classes, diversity, and network. The group also toured the carpentry department, enjoyed refreshments, and listened to female graduates, leading women designers, city planners, and builders in the Tiny Home and Accessory Dwelling Units movement. They also had the opportunity to hear from organizations such as Grid Alternatives and Habitat for Humanity, which provide low-cost housing and energy efficiency to the community. In addition to the Laney Carpentry event, two other CTE departments were a part of this equity-minded campaign, which focused on increasing women in the trades: Machine Technology and Wood Technology. Machine Technology also hosted an open house on June 30, with about 30 people in attendance. Information may be found about Laney's Career Education Programs at


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Laney Geography Professor to Speak at Oxford This Summer

Laney geography professor, Greg Schwartz, Ph.D., will be speaking at Oxford twice this summer. First on July 26, to the Oxford Net Zero decarbonization think-tank, and again on August 15 in the "Oxford Talks" Brave New World series which take place at the historic University of Oxford student union. Greg's talk is entitled "Survival of the Greenest," which details the practical and conceptual shifts that effective global decarbonization will entail.

Greg has also recently given a TEDx talk at Surrey University in greater London. That talk is entitled "5 Steps to Heal Your Body and the Planet" and it will soon be published online by TEDx. Last year, in May of 2021, Greg's book"Bright Green Future: How everyday innovators are changing the way we feed, power, and build our world" was released and became a top-5 seller in its category on Amazon! Congratulations to Professor Schwartz!


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Laney College Launches New Partnership with Oakland Chinatown to Increase Student Enrollment

On July 7, 2022, a Laney College outreach team led by Dean of Enrollment, Dr. Mildred Lewis, Asian Pacific American Student Success Program Director, (APASS) Dr. David Lee, and Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Mark Fields, set up a popup table in the heart of Chinatown to help residents enroll in classes, learn about degree and certificate programs, and receive information about financial aid. In collaboration with APASS staff assistant Huizhen Su and bilingual student ambassadors, the team was kept busy answering questions and providing assistance to residents eager to enroll. “Judging by the high degree of interest from residents who visited with the team, we have a unique opportunity through this collaboration to help Chinatown reach its educational goals. I hope we can make the popup table a fixture in Chinatown, where people know to come to get information about classes and schedules in their language,” said Dean Fields.

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Laney College Vice President of Student Services, Dr. Marlon Hall, was on hand to join the group as they met with Mr. Carl Chan and Ms. Jessica Chen of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce to discuss the formation of a new partnership to educate Chinatown residents of the many educational opportunities and resources available to them at Laney College. “I think Laney College offers our (“Chinatown”) residents so many opportunities. We must work together to help residents make use of this incredible resource that is within walking distance to us,” said Mr. Chan. Dean Lewis emphasized to Mr. Chan and Ms. Li the importance of collaboration so as to meet the immediate needs of the Chinatown community. "Meeting the current demands of our community is important to us; we are capable and ready,” said Dean Lewis. Dr. Lee encouraged residents to take advantage of the bilingual counseling, peer mentoring, and other services offered by the APASS program. For more enrollment information please visit



This article is taken from the President’s Report, written by Dr. Rudy Besikof, Laney College President, that was presented to the PCCD Board of Trustees during their regular meeting on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. To view as a pdf, click here.

Tags: Laney College, Rudy Besikof


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