Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Supportive Community
February 16, 2018
As we struggle to process the horrendous news of another high school shooting in our nation, our expressions of intense grief and heartfelt support for the victims’ families and communities seem simultaneously appropriate and insufficient. It may be helpful for us to know that we have resources for anyone who needs help collecting their thoughts, expressing their feelings, or supporting their colleagues, friends, and families.
For students, contact counselors Kristy Robinson or Patrick Sheehan in Personal Counseling (Student Center) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For employees, contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a confidential and free service for employees and their family members. If you would like to talk or have a place to gather your thoughts, you may contact the EAP at 914-995-6070.
Misguided acts of violence such as this remind us that it is within our purview to deepen our awareness and provide information, insight, and tools that strengthen and uplift our human experience.
Today, the Division of Student Access, Involvement and Success hosted a conference on “Risk of Suicide & the Influence of Social Media,” gathering about 80 participants from area colleges, schools, community organizations, and treatment providers. We should be diligent about keeping aware of rising concern for college students with mental health issues, some linked directly to social media as this article notes. Thank you to Kristy Robinson and her colleagues for organizing this workshop.
Our Fire and Safety Committee provides a different focus regarding safety and well-being. The group will re-launch its training program under the new name Viking SAFE – Safety Awareness for Everyone. Among the first two training modules that have already been announced is active shooter training. As upsetting as it is to reflect on these events and imagine an occurrence at one of our campus locations, awareness and preparation are crucial to preventing these horrific acts or minimizing harm if violence strikes. We should continually commit ourselves in a variety of ways to keep Westchester Community College a safe teaching and learning environment free from hate and violence.
Among the bright lights to cheer this week at the college is the women’s basketball team’s first victory of the season at home Thursday night in a thrilling double overtime win over Bronx Community College. Our men’s team continued its incredible streak of 24 games without being outscored by an opponent. We are proud of our student athletes and grateful for the fans that come to the games to support them. Kudos!
Also, New York State Education Department’s Nontraditional Employment & Training (NET) Project announced the incredible news that one of our own, Early Childhood Education major Hudson Irving-Trader, was named a 2017-2018 Vanguard Award Winner. Only eight students across the state earn this prestigious award. This year’s sixteen finalists included Westchester Community College student Andrew Weitzner, who earned a certificate in Paralegal Studies in December. The Vanguard Award recognizes outstanding students who are enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs that prepare them for careers that are not traditional for their gender.
Gender equity is a major focus of the state’s Carl D. Perkins Grant of which the college is a recipient. Through this funding, we have been deploying new ways of recruiting and retaining students in CTE programs. A recent Hechinger Report article highlights the opportunities to provide new pathways to middle skill jobs and professional careers by breaking down gender stereotypes.
Thank you for the amazing work you do to help our students learn more about themselves and match those interests with their educational and career pursuits.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles