What if you could not only recognize a problem, but also find a solution? That is exactly what Woodland Community College students enrolled in the Speech 6: “Group Communications” class are doing; in fact, they have the opportunity to spend a semester not only realizing, analyzing and understanding a problem, but work as a team to use extensive research and the strengths of each group member to develop and implement a solution.
According to WCC Adjunct Faculty Instructor Kathleen Stephens, students learn the process of making things happen. She said that every organization and job has a process, and students are taught skills they can use in other areas of life.
“Great ideas come out of this class,” said Stephens. The picnic tables scattered throughout campus are a direct result of a Speech 6 class idea, as are the Scantron vending machine and healthier food options in the student lounge, the white board in the registration building with updates regarding class cancellations and additions, and the trial Saturday opening of the library last year.
Stephens explained that in the Speech 6 class students are not restricted to concerns regarding the Woodland Campus, and that students can focus to the larger community as well. She further explained that the key is to understand and research the problem- know why it is a problem, who it affects, and if anything has been done to remedy it.
Students must then work in their teams to further research solutions, and determine if and how solutions can be implemented. Students learn what the process will be, depending on the problem; for example, if the problem is on campus, the team may need to approach student council, site council, or specific committees. Students work to learn the rules and regulations on campus, discover who can assist them, and meeting with these groups and officials allow for others’ ideas, input and support.
The semester, one group of students called “The Power of 6,”wants a Student Activities Center at WCC, hoping to incorporate gaming for students, faculty and staff, as well as an information center for announcements, new campus clubs, current events and activities.
According to the team leader Cassie Kemic, the Student Activities Center, or Student Union, would be a place to relax and socialize, get students more involved in the campus and community, provide more awareness for student activities, and promote faculty and student interaction. “It would give students a chance to join a club or make a difference in school and the community,” explained Kemic. Other group members of “The Power of 6” include Tyler Woodard, Jason Burt, Mario Sonora, Vang Yang, and Richard Cipian.
Kemic affirms that a Student Activities Center will get students more aware of what occurs on campus. “It would be beneficial to everyone who comes to WCC,” said Kemic, and she stated that such a location could help retention, campus unity and could also serve as a central location for campus groups.
The only roadblocks “The Power of 6” foresees is not having a location or enough support from the campus and community. According to Kemic, “The Power of 6” hopes to overcome these roadblocks by having community and local businesses support with monetary donations, or supplies and materials.
Another group of students, “The Satiety Sisters,” are concerned with the physical education needs of WCC students, said assistant group leader Veronica Fregoso. Fregoso explained that the other members and herself, including Lupita Beltran, Sharan, Kathi McFaeland, Tessa Lindquist, feel there should be physical education classes offered on-campus.
According to Fregoso, a student survey conducted by the group revealed that students want classes like yoga, pilates, hip-hop, and cardio, as well as a weight room. “By providing a gym on campus, it would allow students to exercise with out having to go out of their way,” explained Fregoso. She said this could help promote healthy lifestyles.
According to Fregoso, the group foresees funding, building space, liability and not having enough staff as possible roadblocks, but with the passing of Measure J, there may be funding and a possible multi-purpose room as well.
While students may have great ideas, not all ideas are implemented. Stephens said that some ideas fail because students do not follow up, or they wait until the last minute. “They [students] need to research, meet outside of class, and make contacts,” she explained.
Some of the group projects get caught in the “process,” like one presented in the Spring of 2006 by “The Matadors”: a bus shelter in front of WCC’s 100 building. Students Jorge Hernandez, Corrine Fernandez, Jordon Bono, Caylin Benedict, Myles Golden, Ryan White and Vicki Roemhild proposed this idea and received support and financial donations from both the WCC Site Council and Student Council.
Hernandez said that many students miss the bus because of waiting inside when it’s too hot or too rainy to stand outside. According to Hernandez, the group had originally wanted just a bench, but then took into consideration accommodations for disabled students. He said the plan evolved to include modifications for wheelchair access, as well as an overhang to protect students from wind, rain and sun.
Hernandez said a revived interest in the project is needed, and even more crucial – funding. “Take interest in students needs, and if you can, support us,” said Hernandez, who can be reached at email@example.com. Any donations for the bus overhang can be deposited to the WCC Foundation Account “WCC Foundation Air Marker Bus Shelter.”