Best Student Aid
In 1995, the Campus Ministries Department turned the kitchen of the student services building into a pantry for those in need. The idea is simple—when FHC students and staff go grocery shopping, they buy a few extra things to donate to this communal kitchen. The pantry is stocked with food such as pasta, soup, crackers, butter, rice, beans, cereal, canned goods, peanut butter and jelly, and fruit roll-ups, plus personal items such as diapers, tissues, soap, and shampoo.
The pantry works on the honor system. Any student, faculty, or staff member can use the pantry anonymously with no questions asked or strings attached. “At FHCHS, we find our mission and our reason for being—reflecting the love of God—not just in the classroom but in our support services as well,” says Ann Elias, dean of students. Anyone can come in and either fill up a bag with needed items or simply make a meal using the kitchen’s utilities. —EG
Contact Elias at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best Job Training
When Florida State University’s Dr. Jeffery Garis, director of the career resource center, and Dr. John Dalton, then-vice president of student affairs, met Hui Wang, a member of China’s Ministry of Education doing grad work at FSU, the dialogue opened up between not only the men but also the two countries. “There’s the challenge of sheer numbers in China,” Garis says. “They have literally millions of college graduates.” Despite a still-communist government, China was undergoing huge changes, and two years ago, Garis and Dalton accepted invitations by Wang to speak at a conference of career professionals.
After that first visit, Garis and Dalton asked Gail Akin, coordinator of cooperative education and job placement at Central Florida Community College, to join the team for the next trip. “We wanted more expertise from a smaller school,” Garis says. “Gail could provide that hands-on training.” The three addressed a conference of 200 career resource directors in Shanghai and gave the Holland Self-Directed Search assessment to the participants, working with them on the steps necessary to guide students and grads to jobs that suit them. “This visit, we were able to emphasize the technical applications of career services,” Garis says. “Plus, it was an easier visit because we had developed more trust, and it was much less formal.”
The change from “Job Assignment” to “Career Guidance” is more than having a new sign painted. In the past, students were basically told what to major in based on the needs of the country and based on the student’s skills, so teaching people to search for a job they want is a new frontier.
“Technologically, they really have it together,” Akin says. “They have web sites, job listings, databases.” But as Garis says, the Chinese directors lacked knowledge on how to connect the technology to the students. “They’ve really opened up recently about embracing some freedom of choice, but because of their history, they really don’t have much of an idea about how to guide a student to make an individual career choice, and they certainly don’t know how to help a student conduct a self-directed job search,” he says.
The team hopes to take even more members and visit again in 2004. “It’s so clear as to what we need to do next,” Akin says. “It’s just exciting that they’re looking to us for help. What we’re able to take over there and share with them is pretty revolutionary.” —SRR
Best Women’s Program
For the past two years during Women’s History Month, BCC women traced their hands on the wall and filled in their names. They then answered the question, ‘If you could leave your mark on history, what would it be?’ Responses vary from small dreams to very high hopes. “Many participants took over 15 minutes to fill in their square,” says Joan Sherrod, BCC student coordinator and a creator of the wall. “They were very particular about how they wanted to be represented.”
The wall, made of bright pink butcher paper, is divided into three blocks, each six feet wide and 15 feet long. This year, it’s being laminated so it can hang all year.
Along with the wall, programs such as self-defense and domestic violence classes are available to students. During the month, BCC women get bags filled with information on breast cancer, health and wellness, and skin-care product samples. They also watch female empowerment movies such as “Wit.”
“I wanted to have something unique and creative to attract the female population of my campus,” Sherrod says. “We wanted to allow the women to express themselves as creatively as possible, giving them a voice for their dreams and aspirations.” —AS.
Contact Sherrod at email@example.com.
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