Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Hope, Honor, & Support
May 27, 2022
This weekend we observe Memorial Day. For many Americans, this means barbecues, parades, and beaches. Employees at SUNY Westchester Community College take a much-deserved day off after another year of hard, dedicated work supporting our students and guiding them to success. Please stay safe and continue to be mindful of COVID safety protocols during your celebrations this weekend, especially within larger group gatherings.
The holiday is also an occasion for us to reflect on the selfless service of those who dedicated their lives to our country’s security, protection, and democratic ideals. As we honor those we have lost, we are reminded that SUNY WCC goes beyond a single day of recognition with year-round support for the honored members of our community who do or have served in the military. Our Veterans Resource Office provides services and support that facilitate seamless transition into the college environment for our veterans and servicemembers as we work to “build upon their existing foundation built through their military careers…”
This year’s Memorial Day is different. The entire country is feeling shock, pain, frustration and sorrow. In just over one week’s time we suffered through the twin tragedies of mass shootings in Buffalo, NY, where ten people were killed in the Top’s supermarket, and Uvalde, TX, where 21 people, 19 of them children, were killed in a single classroom.
These senseless tragedies are two more stressors that have impacted our country – a pandemic that has claimed over a million lives in the U.S., civil injustice and protests, economic turmoil and uncertainty. These stressors impact all of us in different ways and our students are particularly vulnerable. Our college community is fortunate to have the resources of the Department of Mental Health and Counseling Services (MHCS), which employs a holistic approach that prioritizes the psychological, social, and emotional well-being of our college community. If you are aware of any student who is having difficulties with the stresses they are facing, please refer them to MHCS here. For employees needing support, resources are available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
As we take time to refresh ourselves this weekend (and whenever needed), I encourage you to remain inspired by the important work that community colleges do that represents our nation’s democratic ideals. We contribute to a more equitable and just society by investing in individuals who use their learning to make a positive impact in their lives and communities – as scholars, first responders, nurses, teachers, IT and business professionals, and other important roles. We must be steadfast in making the clarion call throughout our community to extol the value of a community college education and beckon new and continuing students to come back to fulfill their dreams and their potential.
Belinda S. Miles