Classes begin next week. It seems a good time to tell you what has been going on at our GRCC.
Ministry at GRCC has been taking a new form over the past couple of years. There is less student interest and less attendance at studies and much more interest in creating relationships. This seems to be a nation wide trend but is particularly evident at a community college. Four year universities with their residential system put significant emphasis on connecting students. GRCC also puts significant effort into fostering student connections and communities but because everyone lives off campus and a significant number of students are part time, friendships and connections are difficult to build. This semester reflects that reality. Our most successful events have been social gatherings where students can make friends. Much of my time is spent talking, texting, messaging students individually. The Listening Post remains an important way for student to connect with a friendly, non judgmental listener.
This semester 64 student conversations occurred at the Listening Post. Some of these were one time conversations but there are some students who drop by weekly to chat. We have 6 volunteers from 4 churches who staff the Listening Post. (You are welcome to join us!)
I (Nancy the ministry coordinator) had 48 individual student conversations, some over a meal or coffee, some via phone, text, or Facebook. If you don’t spend much time around young adults, you may be surprised at the significant conversations that occur via text and social media. This semester I was also able to reconnect with some students who hadn’t been active for a year or two. This is also part of life at a community college, work and family situations can interfere with activities and even with education for a semester or two or more.
Social events this semester mostly involved food! We gave away four hundred water bottles on the first day of class. We had a pizza party for new students. Our fall movie and pizza night was, as always, fun. There were no leftovers after our Thanksgiving dinner! Our Final Exam Breakfast Boost ( coffee, donuts, and bagels beginning at 7 am the first two days of finals week) was as you might imagine well received.
Our annual Christmas Faculty Staff drop in reception lets us thank and connect with people what are a valuable part of our work at GRCC. The nursing faculty has asked me to be present for prayer on a regular basis for their students. The Student Life Office has asked me to participate in a gathering of faculty, staff and students after the unexpected passing of a much loved person in their office. I was also part of a time for students to gather after the election to talk and process events. I continued to be a guest of the LGBTQ student group and was able to speak to the GRCC trustees about issues of inclusion for transgender persons in GRCC restroom facilities.