Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Appreciative & Aware
November 19, 2021
As we approach Thanksgiving, there is one thing that I want to emphasize with no fear of repeating myself again in a Thanksgiving message next week. I wholeheartedly appreciate each of you for making WCC a vibrant, inclusive, accepting institution for learning and serving our community.
Just this week there were many examples of Vikings taking measures or being honored for contributing to the betterment of our community. Josh Gaccione was inducted into the NYS Senate Veterans Hall of Fame in a ceremony featuring State Senator Shelley Mayer. Josh was cited for his military service and for his extensive effort and service in making WCC a veteran-friendly institution.
The generosity of our community was illustrated by the scores of donations to address food insecurity during the WCC Unhunger Games Food Drive and Fresh Start Challenge spearheaded by Dr. Rachele Hall and the Student Involvement and Student Support Services teams. Our community engagement this week also included hosting a live, in-person event – a Nonprofit Westchester (NPW) Workforce Development Symposium – which brought together leaders from across the county to speak or serve on panel discussions.
We can be thankful for the WCC Foundation and the many wonderful supporters who provide resources that make our college one of caring, compassion, and accessibility. The generosity of these supporters was exemplified by the American Women of African Heritage, members of which came to Hartford Hall to share their stories and a generous donation that will further our efforts to provide a top-class education to all students, regardless of socioeconomic status or financial means.
The COVID positivity rate on college property has hovered at or near zero, which is allowing us to greatly expand our in-person events, course offerings, and student services. Students will have greater flexibility in determining the mode of instruction that is more convenient and better suits their personal preferences and needs. As you connect with students on call, online, and in-person, make them aware of these options and guide them to our registration process and options.
As a call to action in this week’s message, we must remember that in any vibrant community, all perspectives are welcome and often lead to a better outcome. When considering new initiatives, department heads would be well-served by inviting student input. Especially as we expand our return to campus, please look for ways to increase the flow of communication to students, whether it be to garner their input or to remind them to register for Winter and Spring semesters as they strive for continuation and completion.
Last, as many of you may know, there are very consequential verdicts expected soon related to various trials involving injustices. The Rittenhouse Trial, death of Ahmaud Arbery Trial and the Alt-Right Charlottesville Trial are in their final stages. The outcomes and reactions to all of these trials are uncertain at this time. What is certain is that Westchester Community College is committed to Social Justice and the importance of ensuring that all of our campus members have value and the necessary resources for continued success. We will continue to provide informative programs and supportive services related to these events, as needed.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles