History of community service
In this issue we are highlighting the ways in which our alumni, faculty and staff are making a difference during the pandemic, but the truth is helping out whenever needed is a large part of our programs and student organizations year after year. Well before COVID-19, these groups have used their talents and interests to contribute to the greater community. Take the Culinary Program for instance; if a nonprofit event needs to feed people, our culinary students are usually right there whipping up meals for the masses.
“We look for those partners that are giving back to the community as well as need support from the community and help to create their special event,” said Diane Stanley, Coordinator for Culinary and Hospitality Programs.
The community partnerships provide the perfect opportunity for students to practice their culinary skills, including food safety and transportation, set-up and more, while also contributing to a good cause. Over the years, students have worked with March of Dimes, Davenport Schools Culinary Program, King’s Harvest, Hand-in-Hand’s Chili Cook-off and more.
Dental Assisting students are another great example. They lend a hand with their unique skill set every year by participating in the Iowa Mission of Mercy (IMOM), a large scale, two-day community dental clinic where dental professionals and general volunteers donate their time to provide free oral healthcare to individuals who face barriers to receiving dental care. In addition, students visit preschool classrooms to teach kiddos how to properly brush and floss.
“Volunteering increases my students’ confidence. We are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment,” said Barb Nichol, Dental Assisting Director.
Many of EICC’s trades/career programs have positively influenced the community by taking part in events such as the Hands on Trades (HOT) Expo, Manufacturing Week and student career fairs. Events like Plant Yourself in Stem, STEM at the Ballpark, afterschool programs, summer camps and more are other great ways the college has engaged with local kids and provided a fun-filled activity.
This spirit of service and recognizing the needs of others is a large part of organizations such as Student Senate, LULAC and Phi Theta Kappa, just to name a few. LULAC, which stands for League of United Latin American Citizens, often reaches out to the local Hispanic community through volunteerism and events.
“Most recently, LULAC volunteered with reaching out to Latinos across Iowa who we knew were homebound, making phone calls, offering assistance and helping make connections with service organizations,” said Naomi DeWinter, Muscatine Community College President and Vice Chancellor of Student Development.
At Clinton Community College (CCC), local families look forward to the yearly tradition of CCC Night at the Ballpark. Student Senate members volunteer their time, creating a memorable experience for local families by providing an evening under the stadium lights free of charge.
“We offer free tickets to the game and we also have door prizes, giveaways, balloon twisters and face painting. It’s our duty to give back in some way, it’s a good experience for the students and gives families an opportunity they may not have had otherwise,” said Kemi Busker, CCC’s Student Engagement and Leadership Coordinator.
Of course, among all these examples are many, many more. From communitywide clean-ups to fundraisers, cards for troops, Toys for Tots and beyond, the people, programs and organizations that make up the EICC family are constantly finding ways to serve.
“We’re a community college. It’s a part of our name and a part of who we are,” Busker said.